This article in the WSJ (sub req’d) says Comcast’s search business is up for sale:
Google has shared advertising revenue from searches generated on Comcast.net, with Comcast’s cut expected to be about $70 million this year, people familiar with the matter say. But Comcast feels that its share should be at least $100 million, these people say. Comcast.net, which gets about 15 million visitors a month, is one of the biggest non-Google sources of search queries handled by Google.
Comcast also maintains that Google could do more to boost the number of searches from Comcast.net, for instance by making it possible for users viewing a particular news story to search easily for both text and video on that subject. Comcast executives also argue that Google has not provided sufficient information on how it uses data from Comcast.net users.
Because of this dissatisfaction, Comcast asked other Internet companies to submit proposals, and currently it’s talking to Microsoft, whose MSN unit is one of the largest search engines after Google and Yahoo. Google’s current deal with Comcast expires at the end of this year. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.
This would pretty clearly appear to be a negotiating tactic in the hope of using high-level publicity to pressure Google into making desired concessions to Comcast.
Comcast is a top 50 Internet site, with approximately 17 million uniques (per the company), which puts it on par with SuperPages.com. It also has a large local sales force, video, TV, Internet and, now, wireless phone assets. It could really be a force in local if it wanted to make the commitment to execute.
I’ve discussed that several times in the past. But the fact that local (holistically speaking) is a long term commitment may ultimately deter the company from realizing its full potential in the segment.