Microsoft Takes Home The Gold In Arbitration Against Yahoo!

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For the past several years, Yahoo! has been merging its search engine and search ads system, Panama, with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Yahoo! “paused” its efforts to integrate with Microsoft in Taiwan and Hong Kong when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he plans to step down. Microsoft considered this “pause” a breach of their agreement with Yahoo! and initiated an emergency arbitration in which the arbitrator ordered Yahoo! to “use all efforts” to complete the Taiwan and Hong Kong transitions in 2013. Yahoo! moved to vacate the award in the S.D.N.Y. on the basis that the injunctive relief granted to Microsoft was not interim relief as authorized by the arbitration agreement, but was final. The court denied Yahoo!’s petition and confirmed the arbitration award because the arbitrator had a “colorable basis” for concluding that an injunction was necessary to restore the status quo. Yahoo!, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, Case No. 13-7237 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 21, 2013).