MSN, Canadian search engine separate in new multiyear deal

TORONTO -- Canadian portal giants and Microsoft's are going their own way.

Microsoft pulled the plug on the, a popular Canadian search engine jointly operated for five years by the U.S. software maker and Canadian phone giant BCE.

From midnight on Tuesday, a new multiyear agreement will see and operate as separate and distinct portals, with both cooperating and redirecting traffic to the other's individually branded website.

Disengaging the site aims to energize Microsoft as a major online advertising player in Canada against market rivals and Yahoo, which already has a strategic alliance with cable giant Rogers Communications.

The portal will continue to offer Microsoft's Windows Live and and Messenger offerings, which accounted for the bulk of ad inventory on the combined portal since 2004.