March 11, 2004 6:30 AM PST

Yahoo cuts ties to Google in Asia-Pacific

Yahoo has dumped Google's algorithmic search technology for its Australian and New Zealand portals in favor of an in-house search engine, Yahoo Search Technologies.

Speculation about the move has been expected since last year when the company revealed that it had begun limited trials of a new back-end search engine developed from technology it acquired when it purchased Inktomi in December 2002.

The company's U.S. parent completed its transition to YST last month, and Cliff Rosenberg, Yahoo's Australia & New Zealand managing director, said it was reasonable to expect similar announcements for the European and Asian markets.

"I do believe that Inktomi's launching in some European and Asian countries, but I wouldn't be able to name them right now," he said.

Rosenberg indicated that the company's reliance on Google was holding the portal company back.

"If customers are saying to us they're looking for (certain) features in search, if we're reliant on a third party such as Google, it's very difficult for us to impart that into our product," Rosenberg said.

Yahoo Australia Search Producer Peter Crowe said the company had been working on the transition ever since the company purchased search provider Inktomi.

"In the search business, you do need to be able to control your own algorithmic source and how it works with the rest of the page," Crowe said.

It's not known how the announcements will impact on Google's widely anticipated, but as yet unscheduled, public offering. However, recent findings on the search engine and portal published by U.S.-based research company Forrester have resonated with Yahoo's comments.

"Google can't be everything to everyone," said Forrester Research principal analyst, Charlene Li.

Forrester predicts Google will cede ground to portals such as MSN and Yahoo as they improve their search technologies and begin to take advantage of customer loyalty that the pair has gained through their Web mail services.

Andrew Colley of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

 

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