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Tech Rumor of the Day: Microsoft, Yahoo!

Microsoft and Yahoo! try to reassert their autonomy in the fight against Google.


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are pushing new search efforts in an awkward attempt to show they don't need each other to battle


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Microsoft is set to introduce


, or

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depending on who is doing the speculation. The new product, expected as soon as next week, will be Microsoft's third stab at making a compelling Internet search service.

Likewise, in a presentation Tuesday, Yahoo! showed how it is looking to change its classic list-of-results approach to search requests by, basically, adding pictures and related-word combinations to query results.

Yahoo! and Microsoft are exploring ways to challenge Google's dominance of the search industry. For more than a year, the presumed No. 1 option has involved cooperation between Yahoo! and Microsoft, most likely in the form of a search partnership.

Google has stubbornly held on to a large portion of the business. April results released Monday from


show Google had 64.2% search marketshare, up half a percentage point from March. And Yahoo! had 20.4% of the market, down slightly from the 20.5% level in the prior month.

While standard search has had a great run, the revenue from search ads has started to slip in areas like paid clicks and sponsored links as advertisers cut spending. Search players like Microsoft and Yahoo! are looking for an overhaul or a fresh look to help revive sales.

Another problem for the big three search giants is the rise of social networking sites like


. The so-called microblogger offers a search service that ostensibly gives users a more up-to-the minute view of the topics in circulation at the moment.

This immediacy feature could be a hit with mobile phone users. Smartphone owners already looped in to Twitter may do more searching from their phones than on desktop computers, where Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft are stronger. And mobile phone users may also turn to Twitter more if they are looking for something specific and close to their location.

So while Microsoft and Yahoo! need to sharpen their search skills again for the umpteenth time, the two companies may also need to get back to deal discussions.