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Microsoft gunning for online ads audience

Waves aQuantive stick at Yahoo! and Google

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Microsoft has upped the ante to become a serious contender in the world of online advertising with its $6bn buyout of advertising services firm aQuantive.

The Redmond-based software giant also confirmed it had rejigged the organisation and management of its online services team.

Microsoft said it had passed control of all its advertising activities to former aQuantive chief exec Brian McAndrews. Previously, Microsoft's Steve Berkowitz ran the internet arm of the business.

McAndrews' appointment will effectively divide the management of Microsoft's online biz into different segments with Berkowitz being responsible for drumming up the firm's online audience.

In addition, Satya Nadella enters the frame to take care of the advertising technology platform. Microsoft added that it has created a new role for its former chief advertising strategist Yusuf Mehdi, who takes on the job of senior platform and services division VP.

The new management team's work will include overseeing the integration of advertising search engine business AdCenter into other aQuantive online operations. It will report directly to platforms and services president Kevin Johnson.

Microsoft said aQuantive staff will continue to be based at their Seattle offices and that it expects the acquisition will not have a "significant impact" on its previously issued 2008 fiscal statement.

"Today we take a significant step forward in our ability to capture share of the $40bn online ad opportunity and the larger $600bn ad market, which is rapidly shifting to the world of online and IP-served platforms, including TV and gaming," Johnson said.

"The addition of aQuantive's technologies and people to the Microsoft portfolio is a core, strategic investment and step forward in our plans to become one of the top two online advertising platforms in the industry."

The full Microsoft press release is here. ®

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