Microsoft's search engine to index Twitter updates

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft has a new weapon in its Internet search duel with Google - full access to Twitter's communications hotbed.

In a deal announced Wednesday at a technology conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Corp.'s search engine, Bing, will become a new way to find out what people are saying in their Twitter messages - also known as "tweets."

Access to the data is considered to be one of Twitter's most prized assets.

Microsoft apparently outbid Google Inc. for the right to index and display the tweets almost as soon as they are posted.

A Microsoft executive declined to disclosed the financial details of the partnership.

Assuming Microsoft is paying for the indexing rights, it would represent Twitter's first significant revenue since it started in 2006.