Microsoft, Yahoo search deal is on

Eurocrats have rubber-stamped Microsoft and Yahoo's bid to buiild a "search alliance" to combat the might of Google.

Both the U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission have give the companies their blessing following their cosying-up wich began last July.

With a firm grasp of maths, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the alliance would promote "more choice, better value and greater innovation". Two search outfits combining looks like less choice to us.

The deal is essentially about advertising rather than search. Under the 10-year deal, advertisers will be able to buy advertising space on both companies' sites through a direct system created by Microsoft. Yahoo will look after high-volume advertisers, SEO and SEM agencies.

Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz said, "Yahoo gets to do what we do best: combine our science and technology with compelling content to build personally relevant online experiences for our users and customers.”

The pair put a web site, searchalliance.com, on the web to celebrate. It doesn't work.