One of the biggest players behind Microsoft's drive to buy Yahoo has never been at the bargaining table -- Google. That company's dominance in search advertising prompted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to go shopping and seek a tie-up with Yahoo so he could bolster his efforts against what has turned out to be one of Microsoft's toughest competitors. If the deal happens, Google could face a stronger challenge in the $41 billion online advertising market. But a protracted antitrust review by U.S. and European officials, or difficult corporate integration, could actually help the Mountain View search giant. And if the deal does not occur? Google still wins. Most analysts believe the Mountain View juggernaut will continue gaining market share. More than half of Web advertising revenue comes from online queries. In March, Google garnered 59.8 percent of the U.S. search market, while Yahoo had 21.3 percent and Microsoft, 9.4 percent, according to ComScore. Microsoft, which has sputtered online, decided that hooking up with Yahoo of Sunnyvale in a $44.6 billion deal is the best way to gain traction against its rival. But don't expect quick results.
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