The U.S. Justice Department and the EU approved Microsoft and Yahoo!'s new partnership today. That means Microsoft's Bing will power both search engines and Yahoo! will concentrate on bringing in advertisers. Microsoft will also hire Yahoo! engineers to acquire the company's search technologies. Hyping the partnership, Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer said, “I believe that together, Microsoft and Yahoo! will promote more choice, better value and greater innovation to our customers as well as to advertisers and publishers.”

But will it pay off? Both companies appear to be down at the heels. On Wednesday, Yahoo! fell behind Facebook in unique monthly visitors. And Microsoft's Bing has failed to make a dent in Google's market share. Here's what two tech observers think of the new partnership. What do you think?

  • This Is Big, writes Chris Thompson at The Big Money: "This marks the first time that Google has faced a rival with both a sizable customer base and a search engine that delivers the goods. It frees up Yahoo to focus on other, more profitable elements of its business, and gives Bing a chance to expand its brand recognition. Stock in both companies have inched up on the news."
  • Too Little, Too Late, writes Liz Gannes at GigaOM: "It’s hard to imagine those two changes will shift either one out of 'also-ran' status."