Barry Diller, CEO of IAC — the parent company of Ask.com — said today that he’s willing to sell the struggling, fourth-place search engine. His comments came during a conference call with investors after IAC reported its 3rd quarter earnings.
“We’ve been asked a lot whether we’re open to consolidating transactions in the area of search. The answer is yes,” Diller said. “And, it is unlikely that we would be the consolidator.” Diller also called the future of Ask.com “speculative” during today’s call, citing the “fierce” competition in search.
IAC’s media and advertising business — which includes Ask.com — suffered an 11 percent drop in revenues in Q3. And according to the latest comScore survey, Ask.com is a distant fourth in the search race with just 3.9% market share. It’s actually moved away from being a true search engine recently, and returned to its roots with the expansion of AnswerFarm, a Q&A database that was launched one year ago.
Who would want a struggling search engine? Silicon Alley Insider thinks Microsoft could be the only suitor.
There’s more Ask.com discussion on Techmeme.