Diller Says a Microsoft/Yahoo Deal Good for Ask

During IAC’s Q4 2007 earnings call this morning, CEO Barry Diller said the firm has had “extensive conversations” with Microsoft and Yahoo regarding Ask.com. However, he added, they “simply did not have the ability…to bid for us.”

As for the potential Microsoft/Yahoo pair up, Diller said he thinks it could benefit Ask.com. “I think this gives us an advantage,”‘ he said, noting, “at least a couple years of integration challenges” would be ahead of the combined firm while Ask would have all that time to “innovate.” Indeed, morphing the two search platforms and advertising platforms, not to mention the business operation and staff would take quite some time.

IAC reported revenues for its Media and Advertising segment grew 42 percent to $226.6 million in Q4 2007 over the same period in 2006. The segment includes Citysearch, Evite and Ask.

“Within IAC Search & Media, network revenue growth outpaced that of proprietary revenue, primarily due to a wider adoption of sponsored listings products and toolbar distribution. Proprietary revenue grew on the strength of both Fun Web Products and Ask.com, which continues to see improved user retention and frequency,” noted a company press release.