The next release of Microsoft AdCenter, the software maker's competitor to Google's services for advertisers, will support the Firefox 1.5 browser, it was reported Tuesday.
The AdCenter upgrade is set to launch on Saturday, the Search Engine Watch blog said, quoting an email Microsoft sent to premium AdCenter customers. Other new features include hourly updates of daily, weekly and monthly ad data.
AdCenter is Microsoft's attempt to catch up with Google and Yahoo in the multi-billion-dollar search advertising market. The company launched the service in the United States in May, following months of testing overseas.
AdCenter is an online service where advertisers can buy space across Microsoft's Web properties MSN and Windows Live. The ad platform enables advertisers to purchase display and search ads. The latter is the hottest ad market on the Web.
Like Google's AdSense and Yahoo's own ad platform, AdCenter lets advertisers bid on keywords that consumers use in searching for products and services. The price paid depends on how likely the word or phrase would be used, and determines the placement of ads on search results. All three rivals also offer analytics and reporting tools that advertisers can use to measure the effectiveness of their ads.
Microsoft's biggest hurdle in matching the success of its rivals will be in closing the gap on usage. Microsoft's MSN search engine lags far behind Google and Yahoo, with the former the clear favorite of the U.S. online population.