Apple, Google and mapping apps weren’t the only thing that Eric Schmidt spoke about today in Tokyo.
Forbes is reporting that Schmidt also floated the idea of a Google-Yahoo search partnership. Dow Jones reporter Kenneth Maxwell was at the event, and shared this statement with Forbes:
Yes, I can confirm, Eric Schmidt definitely said they’d be interested in working with Yahoo US. He also said nothing doing for the time being, but they would be interested. It was also mentioned to him that there is new management at Yahoo US with a Google connection. But he played it pretty straight…. He also said they had expressed this interest to Yahoo before on a number of occasions.
That’s right – it’s not really a new idea and it’s also an obvious one; of course Google would love to be Yahoo’s search partner. The two companies briefly had a deal on the table in 2008, but Google pulled out over fears that the government would declare Google a monopoly.
Yahoo and Microsoft ended up striking a deal, instead, and that remains in place today. But Yahoo has an out: It can cancel the deal soon after March 31, 2013, when Microsoft’s revenue guarantees come to an end. For more on that, see Danny Sullivan’s story from about two months ago: As The Yahoo-Microsoft Search Alliance Falls Short, Could A Yahoo-Google Deal Emerge?
The new piece in all of this, of course, is that Marissa Mayer is now in charge of Yahoo. Her ties to Google could make her just as interested as Schmidt in striking a search deal … or it could make her more willing to take on the gargantuan task of getting Yahoo back in the search business on its own. Mayer is reportedly briefing Yahoo employees on her company vision today, so we all may know more soon.