History of Yahoo, Microsoft and Google : The BIG Internet war

  • 1975: Microsoft founded.
  • 1995: Yahoo founded, begins serving ads online. Microsoft launches MSN Web portal.
  • 1998: Google founded.
  • 2000: Yahoo starts delivering search results generated by Google's technology. Google introduces AdWords, its system for displaying ads next to search results based on keywords used.
  • May 2001: Terry Semel becomes Yahoo's chairman and CEO.
  • February 2002: Microsoft taps Overture Services Inc., later bought by Yahoo, to power its advertising-driven search engine. Google overhauls AdWords with cost-per-click model that makes online advertising easier and more cost effective for smaller businesses.
  • May 2002: AOL picks Google as search and advertising provider.
  • 2003: Google AdSense launches, letting outside Web sites make money by plugging in targeted text ads by Google.
  • October 2003: Yahoo announces plans to buy Overture, giving it a system for selling search ads similar to Google's AdWords.
  • February 2004: Yahoo replaces Google search results with its own technology.
  • April 2004: Google launches free e-mail service Gmail, expanding ad opportunities.
  • August 2004: Google holds initial public offering.
  • December 2005:Google makes $1 billion, 5 percent investment in Time Warner Inc.'s AOL and extends ad partnership.
  • May 2006: Microsoft's launches own Web ad platform, adCenter. Microsoft signs up Facebook as first big client.
  • August 2006: Google wins search and ad deal with News Corp.'s MySpace and eBay Inc.
  • October 2006: Google announces plan to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion, giving it a highly popular video-sharing site on which to sell more ads.
  • November 2006: Yahoo builds advertising partnership with consortium of daily newspapers.
  • February 2007: Yahoo launches long-awaited search and advertising technology overhaul, known as Panama.
  • April 2007: Google agrees to pay $3.1 billion in cash to acquire ad-management technology company DoubleClick Inc. Yahoo acquires online advertising exchange Right Media Inc. for $680 million.
  • May 2007: First rumors hit Wall Street that Microsoft is contemplating Yahoo buyout. Yahoo CFO Susan Decker promoted to oversee advertising operations. Microsoft says it will buy online ad company aQuantive Inc. for $6 billion in cash.
  • June 2007: Semel steps down as Yahoo's CEO; co-founder Jerry Yang takes over. Decker becomes president.
  • July 2007: Yahoo launches SmartAds, a behavioral, demographic and geographic ad targeting system.
  • August 2007: Microsoft buys AdECN Inc., a stock market-like Web ad exchange. It also launches ContentAds, context-relevant ads on some sections of MSN.
  • September 2007: Yahoo announced plans to buy online behavioral targeting specialist BlueLithium Inc. for $300 million in cash
  • October 2007: Yahoo announces plans to buy AdInterax, a rich media ad business, for undisclosed amount. Microsoft spends $240 million on a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook, ensures ad partnership will continue.
  • December 2007: Microsoft steals Viacom ad business from DoubleClick. Other ad deals since the acquisition of aQuantive include financial news site CNBC.com and Digg Inc., a reader-powered news site. Google's proposed buyout of DoubleClick gets green light from U.S. regulators, still pending in Europe.
  • January 2008: Semel resigns as Yahoo's chairman. Microsoft makes unsolicited $44.6 billion offer for Yahoo.

Contributed by Vaibhav Agarwal