The Yahoo-Microsoft search deal isn't working as planned, according to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Mayer said she wants to see the companies do more than exchange search market share back and forth.
"One of the points of the alliance is that we collectively want to grow share rather than just trading share with each other." Mayer said. "We need to see monetization working better because we know that it can and we've seen other competitors in the space illustrate how well it can work."
In December 2010, Yahoo had around a 16 percent market share, while Bing was around 12 percent. By December 2012, those numbers were flipped. Meanwhile, Google's U.S. search market share remained in the neighborhood of 66 percent, according to comScore data.
This isn't the first time she's spoken negatively about the search deal. In October, Mayer made similar comments during a Q3 call with investors, saying the deal had "fallen below expectations."
Years before Mayer came onboard, Yahoo signed a 10-year deal with Microsoft that handed over control of its organic results to Bing and paid search advertising to Microsoft adCenter (since rebranded as the Bing Ads).
Yahoo's deal with Microsoft came after a long saga that included Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo, only for its then CEO and founder Jerry Yang to rebuff what now seems to have been an offer of a lifetime for the firm.
While Mayer said that the deal with Microsoft isn't working the way it should, it is hard to see how Yahoo will grow its search market share relative to Google if it doesn't control the search technology it offers. However, Mayer said the firm's big goal isn't search engine technology; rather, it's getting people to visit its various websites.
"Our biggest business problem right now is [page] impressions," Mayer said. "Basically can we grow impressions, can we get growth happening here?"
The only problem is that she has so far talked in only very vague terms about how to increase visitors to Yahoo's websites, claiming that the future is in websites personalized to the user.
Since Yahoo signed the 10-year deal with Microsoft back in 2009, Mayer's legal team will have to go through the deal with a fine-toothed comb to see how the company can make changes it believes will give it a better chance against Google.