Is there a more desperate race currently than online advertising?!
Today Microsoft joined Google, Yahoo and AOL is splashing out heavily on a dedicated online advertising firm and at a monstrous price of $6bn for aQuantive the company broke its purchase price records.
"Today we take a significant step forward in our ability to capture share of the $40 billion online ad opportunity and the larger $600 billion ad market, which is rapidly shifting to the world of online and IP-served platforms, including TV and gaming," said Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's Platforms & Services Division (PSD). "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."
aQuantive comprises three divisions (Avenue A | Razorfish, Atlas Solutions and DRIVE Performance Solutions) and Microsoft has set up a new arm, the 'Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) Group' to house them. The APS team will "assume responsibility for building and marketing all ad platforms, including Atlas, DRIVEpm, MSNDR and Microsoft AdCenter, along with emerging media types such as in-game and mobile ads". Basically irritating stuff...
Expect major moves from APS over the next 18 months. Also expect the CEO of aQuantive to be settling down somewhere in the Bahamas about now on his new 300ft catamaran.