Google's founders said they are looking forward to working closely with Yahoo in the wake of the abrupt withdrawal of Microsoft's bid for the Sunnyvale Internet company.
"We were a big partner of Yahoo a few years ago," co-founder Sergey Brin said. "It's great to be working with them again."
Brin made his remarks at a press roundtable shortly before Google's annual shareholders meeting this afternoon. Google and Yahoo are considering a deal in which Yahoo would display Google ads on its popular Web properties and share revenue from those ads with Google.
The two companies recently completed a trial run of the arrangement.
"We have had a brilliant test which was two weeks long," said Chief Executive Eric Schmidt.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer cited the test in his May 3 letter as one of his reasons for terminating negotations with Yahoo's board.
"We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a 'hostile' bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us," he wrote.
When asked whether the test with Yahoo was intended to scuttle Microsoft's bid, Brin said: "We really believe in companies having choices in their destiny. They were under hostile attack and we wanted to make sure they had as
many options as possible."
While antitrust experts believe government regulators would take a close look at a full-fledged deal between Google and Yahoo, Schmidt said any arrangement would be structured to address antitrust concerns.