Microsoft Corp. has finally roped Yahoo Inc. into an Internet search partner­ship, set­ting the stage for the rivals to make an all-out assault against the dominance of Google Inc.

The 10-year deal announced yesterday gives Microsoft access to the Internet’s second-lar­gest search engine audience, add­ing a potentially potent weap­on to the software maker’s Internet arsenal as it tries to better confront Google, the leader in online search and advertising.

The extended reach will allow Microsoft to introduce its recently upgraded search engine, called Bing, to more people. The software maker believes Bing is just as good, if not better, than Google’s search engine. Taking over the search responsibilities on Yahoo’s highly trafficked site gives Microsoft a better chance to convert web surfers who had been using Google by force of habit.

In return for turning over the keys to its search engine, Yahoo will get to keep 88 per cent of the revenue from all search ad sales on its site for the first five years of the deal, and will have the right to sell ads on some Microsoft sites.

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