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The Medium, The Message

If we weren't bombarded enough with advertisements--on TV, radio, the Web, storefronts, and magazines like this--more are on the way. Marketers want to promote their messages on every electronic device we carry, every screen we view.

Thus, Microsoft's interest in acquiring Massive, a company that places ads in video games, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Imagine a Toyo billboard as your low-profile Civic swerves down a rain-slicked, virtual Lake Shore Drive at 110 mph. Now, that's a way to sell tires.

Can junk mail on cell phones be far behind? Xybernaut, a company looking to emerge from bankruptcy, plans to auction patents for technology to wirelessly transmit advertising, direct mail, and other information to mobile phones. The patents will be put up for sale in Washington on May 17, with a minimum bid of $3.9 million for three U.S. patents.

Blame Google, which makes its money from ad placement. The search company's market cap: $125 billion.

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