Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US) must switch to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US)’s Bing search service in Taiwan by Oct. 28, a federal judge said in upholding an arbitration decision blocking Yahoo from postponing the transition until next year.
U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson in Manhattan said Yahoo must abide by the terms of a 2009 agreement it forged with Microsoft to merge their search capabilities internationally to better compete with Google Inc. (GOOG:US), the world’s largest search engine company.
Yahoo told Microsoft last month that it was delaying the transition from its Panama search service to Bing in Taiwan and Hong Kong because of concerns about Microsoft’s commitment to Bing after Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer announced he would be stepping down.
Microsoft initiated emergency arbitration and obtained an order for Yahoo to complete the transition to Bing in Taiwan by Oct. 28 and in Hong Kong by Nov. 11.
Patterson, ruling in Yahoo’s Oct. 15 petition to toss the arbitration order, said the arbitrator didn’t exceed his authority or disregard the law.
“We had a narrow disagreement regarding the Search Alliance rollout in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” David Cuddy, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, said yesterday in an e-mail. “We have unwavering plans to continue investing with Yahoo in the Search Alliance, now operating in more than 20 countries, and the Bing platform, which is central to our latest products.”
Anne Espiritu, a spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, didn’t immediately respond after regular business hours yesterday to an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.
The case is Yahoo! Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 13-cv-07237, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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