....about forging an alliance that could spell the end of Yahoo!’s relationship with Microsoft.
Sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo!, has held discussions with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, about how the two companies can work more closely together.
The two internet giants have already collaborated together on a number of small projects, for example to share Yahoo! news on Facebook, and recently agreed to settle a number of long-standing lawsuits over patents. However, board members expect the talks to lead to much more substantial collaboration based around web-based search.
Facebook has already said it plans to boost its web search facility, with founder Mark Zuckerberg noting that the social network is “pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have”.
Forging an alliance with Yahoo! would allow the social network to take a major leap forward in search, ensuring it remains central to its users’ lives and helping to target advertising more efficiently.
Meanwhile, Yahoo!, which started life as one the first major search engines but is now dwarfed by rival Google, would benefit from Facebook’s vast army of more than 1bn users.
An alliance between Facebook and Yahoo! will pose a major threat to Google and stands to reorder the hierarchy of the world’s biggest technology companies.
Silicon Valley observers had speculated that Ms Mayer could throw Yahoo!’s lot in with Google, her former employer, but instead she and Ms Sandberg, who is also a former Google executive, are expected to use their combined might to launch a serious competitor.