Yahoo Japan Chooses Google Search Technology Over Microsoft's Bing

Yahoo Japan Corp. will use Google’s search engine and advertising technology to replace its current search system, a move that runs counter to Yahoo Inc.’s tight relationship with Microsoft and its Bing search engine.

The move is seen as a blow to Microsoft’s effort to globally expand use of Bing. Japan, with an estimated 100 million Web users, is the world’s third largest Internet market.

Yahoo Japan, which operates that country’s most visited Web portal, currently relies on Yahoo in the U.S. to provide its search technology. Under the deal with Google, Yahoo Japan will use Google technology to provide both paid and algorithmic search results. No date for the switchover has been disclosed.

The deal had been rumored for some time and was confirmed Tuesday in a Google blog. The two-year contract includes a renewal option.

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Yahoo Japan relied on Google to provide its back-end search technology between 2001 and 2004 before it switched to Yahoo. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo owns about 35 percent of Yahoo Japan while SoftBank Corp., a major Japanese telecommunications and media company, owns 40 percent.

Last summer Yahoo and Microsoft struck a 10-year deal under which Microsoft’s Bing search and ad-serving technology is being built into Yahoo’s search pages. The alliance also calls for Yahoo to become the worldwide sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.

That contract had been in negotiation for more than a year, following a spurned offer by Microsoft to acquire Yahoo for more than $44 billion.