It's funny how you hear there are 4 major search engines and exactly who they are differs depending on who writes about this. The four are either Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask Jeeves (this one I question) and the other is Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL (which I agree with except AOL now serves Google results).
Obviously the first four are unique search engines and the second is the top four for traffic to those sites.
Now it seems MSN is looking to create a major shift beyond the drop it will eventually create for Yahoo! paid listings when it breaks away completely by Spring 2006. They are courting AOL according to the Wall Street Journal.
New Media Report quotes WSJ in today's article about this.
You have to give it to Bill and crew, they are definitely being aggressive. Google has been taking them seriously for quite some time and are not about to let this go without a fight.
Funny how AOL has become the Queen of search - with suitors lining up to court her. The people at AOL have met the challenge of lost subscribers by providing an open platform to most of their content and generating income from the new revenue model - search. Their bottomline is going to be numbers and I look forward to the battle that will continue through the next few months. Maybe by SES NYC something will have been worked out and it will be a big topic of conversation.