Yahoo apparently considered outsourcing search monetization (WSJ), but decided against it:
….over the summer, Mr. Yang did actively assess one major sacred cow: the Web-search-advertising business it built up at great expense in recent years. Under the scenario discussed by top executives, Yahoo would have outsourced that search-advertising activity — which places small text ads next to Web search results — to either Google or Microsoft Corp., the people say. One of these people says Yahoo raised the idea with Google.
Such a move would likely give Yahoo an immediate revenue bump representing hundreds of millions of dollars annually, because Google, for one, generates about 40% more revenue for each consumer search than Yahoo, according to Majestic Research Corp. in New York. It could also bring in additional one-time payments from any outsourcing partner and would reduce some of Yahoo’s operations costs and capital spending.
But one of the people familiar with the matter says Mr. Yang concluded that Yahoo needed to be the “marketing operating system,” providing advertisers with a full menu of online-ad options.
My previous “modest proposal” on the subject here.