Facebook and Yahoo! are discussing a search deal… or not?

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Yahoo!

Yahoo! chief Marissa Meyer has reportedly been in talks with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg over how the two companies can work more closely.

According to the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, the two Silicon Valley heavyweights met to explore how they could build on the existing relationship between the two companies.

The two companies have a long history with each other, although their interactions haven’t always affable. Back in March, Yahoo! threatened to sue Facebook for patent infringements. That dispute was however settled and Facebook now shows Yahoo! news results on its feed.

According to the Telegraph, the next collaboration between the two companies will likely be in search. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has previously gone on record saying that the social network is “pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have”.

AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher however refutes any notions that the two companies might be working together on search product. She says her sources “scoffed about such a deal”.

In addition, she says, “Yahoo is not anywhere near ending its search partnership with Microsoft, although new CEO Marissa Mayer has been in touch with the software giant about improving performance that has been less than lackluster over the course of its history so far”.

As Swisher points out, Yahoo! outsourced its core search business to Microsoft some time ago, so it probably wouldn’t be able to help Facebook out even a little bit. When Facebook does go all in on search it’s likely to do so on its own, she says: “Hooking up with Yahoo! would bring it almost nothing it might need to make it a success”.

The likely reason for the meetings between the two companies therefore is to more tightly integrate the areas where the can realistically collaborate: advertising and services for instance.

Any notion of a Microsoft-Yahoo-Facebook anti-Google bloc meanwhile is just a “movie version at this moment”.

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