Although it may share a name with its US counterpart, Yahoo Japan is all but a separate entity which is 40 percent controlled by cell phone provider Softbank (Yahoo has a 35 percent stake). That may be the reason why it announced Tuesday that it had struck a deal to use Google’s search engine to power searches on the site.
The announcement is a bit odd given that Yahoo just signed a wide ranging partnership with Microsoft last July. It is not clear how much — if any — say that Yahoo, Inc. had over the talks. In addition, it would move to Google’s advertising platform as well, which makes it sound like there really would now not be much Yahoo in Yahoo Japan at all.
The site enjoys a 58 percent share in the country, compared to just 38 percent for Google. However together, these two companies now essentially control the entire search market in Japan.
I have to say I’m shocked by this news, especially considering that Bing will be behind Yahoo’s primary search engine here in the states and in Europe. The quarterly financial report — where this news first surfaced — says that Yahoo, Inc. position as a strategic partner would not be affected.
That seems a bit odd. If you’re building a brand, wouldn’t you want it to be the same across all the markets you’re involved with?
One thing seems certain now: Yahoo as a brand itself seems to be slowly fading away, much like AOL has. The heart of it is now outsourced, and there is not honestly much left. Will the company follow a similar decline? Only time will tell.