Much has been made about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s apparent discontent with the company’s search advertising partnership with Microsoft, and the potential for Yahoo to try to exit the partnership before the end of its 10-year term.
But the executive in charge of Microsoft’s advertising business said the Redmond company still sees it as a long-term relationship, and even hopes that the companies will continue the partnership beyond the initial agreement.
Rik van der Kooi, who heads up Microsoft’s advertising business as chief operating officer of the company’s Applications and Services Business, responded to GeekWire’s question about the Yahoo partnership during a Q&A session at an event in Redmond today briefing reporters and advertising executives about the state of the Bing ads business.
“I’d say there’s always a little strife in every good marriage and you should just put that aside under that heading,” he said, adding that Microsoft and Yahoo are ”both completely committed to the partnership.”
The comments seek to defuse speculation about the future of the partnership. Last week, Microsoft won a court ruling requiring Yahoo to continue with the transition to Microsoft’s Bing Ads technology in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Records in that case showed that Yahoo is questioning Microsoft’s long-term commitment to the deal as Steve Ballmer prepares to leave his role as CEO of the Redmond company.
Here’s the full text of van der Kooi’s comments today in response to our question.
We have a ten-year partnership, or at least it’s agreed for ten years. From our perspective, we hope for it to be longer than 10 years. There is some noise in the press around the quality of the partnership, there is noise around earnings releases when one party says something and the other party says something. I think if you put that all aside, there’s clear benefits that both of us are deriving from the partnership.
As such, both of us like to be masters of our own destiny when it comes to search. Yahoo has the opportunity to provide their own front end. We provide the back-end services. The monetization has improved significantly for both of us, and so from our perspective we are completely committed as I believe Yahoo to be. I’d say there’s always a little strife in every good marriage and you should just put that aside under that heading. We are I think both completely committed to the partnership.
Under their 2009 agreement, Microsoft provides the underlying search technology for Yahoo and powers the search-related advertising platform. Yahoo can terminate (or renegotiate) the deal if it doesn’t meet financial benchmarks. In the meantime, Yahoo has been strengthening its ties to Google, Microsoft’s archrival and Mayer’s former employer.