Microsoft and Yahoo! have finalized the search agreement initially announced last July. Originally, they had planned to finalize things by late October. When they didn't meet that deadline, they assured everyone that progress had been made.
Here's the joint statement released by both parties:
Microsoft and Yahoo! believe that this deal will create a sustainable and more compelling alternative in search that can provide consumers, advertisers and publishers real choice, better value, and more innovation. Yahoo! and Microsoft welcome the broad support the deal has received from key players in the advertising industry and remain hopeful that the closing of the transaction can occur in early 2010.
Now for the fun part: regulatory approval. Advertisers are largely in favor of the deal, since it would create a much stronger competitor to Google. Speaking of which, count on the folks at Google to fight this every step of the way. They've learned to play the game in Washington - especially since their own deal with Yahoo! failed - and have better ties to this administration than the previous one.
Of course, Microsoft has been a player in Washington for a lot longer. And there's more concern now about antitrust and Google while antitrust talk regarding Microsoft is so Clinton-era.
Let the games begin.