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IBM, Yahoo! Team on Search

IBM (IBM - Get Report) already makes millions by helping large businesses mine useful information from corporate databases, email archives and servers stuffed with gigabytes of documents.

Now Big Blue is teaming up with Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) to make less powerful, but still sophisticated, search capabilities available to smaller businesses. The cost: free.

IBM hopes the new offering will prove the value of enterprise search to companies unable or unwilling to spend $30,000 or more to install the company's high-end Omnifind software, says Marc Andrews, program director for information management.

Moreover, says Andrews, IBM Omnifind Yahoo! edition is aimed at undercutting midrange enterprise search offerings from Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL - Get Report).

The underlying technology for the new product belongs to IBM, but the interface, the part of the software users actually see on their monitors, is Yahoo!'s.

Users searching corporate data with the new engine will see results listed in the format found on Yahoo's Web sites, but without the ads. However, results will also include links to Web pages hosted by Yahoo!, a tactic aimed at bolstering the search company's traffic.

Those pages will have ads and sponsored links, says Andrews.

IBM will offer paid phone support for the search engine.

IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition is available as a free download as of Wednesday. It closed Tuesday's regular session up 48 cents to $94.12.

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