Microsoft has reached a deal with Yahoo for an Internet search partnership, ending years of back and forth negotiations.

The agreement announced Wednesday gives Microsoft access to the Internet's second-largest search engine audience.

It adds a potentially potent weapon to Microsoft's Internet arsenal as the software maker girds for an online assault against Google.

Yahoo is teaming with Microsoft following years of financial decay. In the process, Yahoo hopes to recover some of the money that was squandered in 2008 when it turned down a chance to sell the entire company to Microsoft for $47.5 billion.

Microsoft wants to process more search requests because the inquiries have become a critical lever for selling Internet ads.

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