Microsoft Seeks Bigger Presence In Online Ad Market - InformationWeek

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Microsoft Seeks Bigger Presence In Online Ad Market

The company's new Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group is charged with creating software and services for online publishers and advertisers.

With its acquisition of aQuantive complete, Microsoft has turned to beefing up the rest of its digital advertising business.

The company said Tuesday that it has created the new Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group that is charged with creating software and services that online publishers and advertisers can use to more easily transact business.

Microsoft is placing a broad range of products and services within APS, including its AdCenter search listings purchasing tool and agency services offered by Avenue A/Razorfish -- which was part of aQuantive.

The unit will also include services for advertisers looking to place spots within video games and other digital products that represent new frontiers for Madison Ave.

APS will be run by Brian McAndrews, who was CEO of aQuantive prior to its acquisition by Microsoft. McAndrews will report to Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's Platforms & Services division.

AQuantive shareholders last week approved the $6 billion acquisition, which valued their company at $66.50 per share.

In May, Microsoft said it had acquired Screen Tonic, a European manufacturer of software designed to connect online advertisers with users of mobile phones and other digital devices. In July, the software maker announced a partnership with Ask.com under which customers of Microsoft's paid search program will see their listings appear on sites operated by Ask.com and its partners.

The moves are widely seen as an attempt to improve Microsoft's ability to compete against Google and Yahoo as a provider of search advertising. In the fiscal year ended in July, Microsoft reported $2.47 billion in revenue in online services, including advertising -- an increase of 7.4%.

In April, Google announced a $3.1 billion deal to buy online ad service provider DoubleClick, a company for which Microsoft was thought to be on the hunt.

Microsoft pegs the size of the digital advertising market at $40 billion.

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