Despite Yahoo’s recent profitability problems, the company has continued to invest in several innovative and technically-stunning projects. These include:
SearchMonkey: a system that allows site owners to publish structured data that provides more useful and visually appealing results within the Yahoo search engine.
BOSS (Build your Own Search Service): a platform that allows products to utilize the Yahoo search index.
YQL (Yahoo Query Language): a SQL-like language that abstracts the whole web so it appears to be an enormous database!
Yahoo Pipes: a visual content mash-up system.
Yahoo provides the services for free and many companies have adopted the technologies for their own web sites and systems. However, what will become of these projects if the Microsoft-Yahoo deal proceeds as planned? Under the terms of that agreement, Microsoft will become the sole technical systems developer for both companies.
The deal has an immediate impact on SearchMonkey and BOSS, but other projects will almost certainly be affected. Yahoo have already announced that using Bing will save them around $200 million in annual expenditure. I’m sure that figure includes administration and marketing costs, but it would also pay the salaries of a few thousand developers. It’s possible Microsoft will integrate Yahoo’s systems with Bing, but is there a justifiable financial or competitive advantage for doing so?
According to the blogs of Chris Yeh, Head of the Yahoo Developer Network, and Ashim Chhabra of the BOSS team, there will be no immediate changes and they are still absorbing the implications of the deal. However, there are rumors that the morale at Yahoo is flagging.
Does the Microsoft-Yahoo deal spell the beginning of the end for Yahoo development projects? The outlook does not look good.
Related reading: Bing Boosted by Microsoft and Yahoo Deal.