O2 swaps Google for Yahoo's mobile search in Germany. With 70% share, I doubt Google cares

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[Germany] Yahoo is claiming it has “displaced” Google search in Germany. Let’s just check that again. What has happened is that Yahoo has entered into an exclusive, multi-year, partnership with O2 Germany to become the preferred partner for mobile search and services. Who was the previous partner? Google. So that’s not actually the same thing at all.

The deal means O2 users there can now access to Yahoo!’s mobile-optimized search engine on O2s mobile portals. Users also will be able to sync their PC and mobile homepages. Yahoo! will also deliver sponsored search results for O2. It also includes links to and content from other Yahoo properties.

[Update] Yahoo tells me that it is not paying O2 through the nose for this deal and it’s not the continuation of a any kind of contractual arrangement. (In 2007 Yahoo made a deal with Telefonica, which owns O2, that put Yahoo search on Telefonica phones in Latin America and O2 in the UK. O2 Germany had at the time just signed a deal with Google). So O2 consciously chose Yahoo over Google as O2 Germany was not part of any over-arching Telefonica deal. It’s also fair to point out that T-Mobile has also more or less displaced Google’s search for its mobile services in Europe for Yahoo’s.

But the problem here for Yahoo! is that, in the main, Germans themselves probably don’t care. Despite what others think Yahoo is of little relevance in Germany and O2 is its smallest mobile operator in terms of user numbers.

As our guy on the ground in Germany, Markus Göbel, puts it: “The Yahoo-O2 deal is just about a Yahoo search box on the O2 mobile website which nobody uses anyway. People just go to Google or to their bookmarked websites.”

A comScore study from August this year shows that Google has a 70% share of the mobile search market in Germany, while Yahoo is on a distant 8.2%. Last year Google was on 85.1% market share. Yahoo! was on 9.4%.