Microsoft is shelling out about $6 billion in cash to buy digital marketing/advertising vendor aQuantive.
The aQuantive buy marks the biggest acquisition in Microsoft's corporate history. (So much for the idea that Microsoft isn't into big acquisitions. Guess a Google-DoubleClick deal, on the heels of a Google-YouTube deal, changed that dynamic.)
aQuantive -- the former Avenue A/Razorfish -- is based in Seattle (no remote management needed). Microsoft is planning to use its various tools and technologies -- as well as its relationships with publishers across all media, from IPTV, to games -- to supplement its existing set of digital-advertising wares.
Does this mean Microsoft is dropping its campaign to see the Google-DoubleClick deal killed because of antitrust concerns? No. Microsoft's official word on the matter is that a Microsoft-aQuantive deal is complementary because their products/services don't overlap. Google and DoubleClick have strongly overlapping ad-serving businesses, the Softies say.
There's no doubt: Microsoft wants to be an advertising company as much as a software company these days.