The three horsemen of the advertising apocalypse: Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo are partnering in a bid to counter the online advertising dominance of both Google and Facebook.
Announced on Tuesday, it will allow each of the companies to sell one another's unsold premium advertising inventory by early next year, reports Reuters.
Though the partnership will allow the co-operation of selling unsold advertising stock, the companies will continue to compete with one another for both advertiser spending and publisher partners, as they maintain their own corporate controls.
The partnership will in effect allow the three web giants to sell online adverts across their respective sites, in hope to compete with Google and social network Facebook, which is set to increase its share of advertising dollars for three years in a row.
Executives from the partnership expect 'no issues' from the U.S. Justice Department, which could still investigate the deal as it could negatively impact fair competition or alter advertising pricing. Microsoft played down the impact on the market, saying that the partnership was open to other networks should they wish to join.
"The fact that we're joining together to offer this kind of access to quality -- yet each with our own differentiated ad offerings -- is something that will benefit the market as a whole", Rik van der Kooi said, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Advertising Business Group.
Both Facebook and Google, currently leading the market in online advertising, totalling over 1.6 billion users around the world, are expected to increase their share of U.S. based online display advertising from 9.3 and 16.3 respectively, according to research firm eMarketer.
On the others side of things, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo are expected to lose share, with Facebook and its 800 million user base to surpass Yahoo.
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