A look back at Microsoft's advertising-related acquisitions

A look back at Microsoft's advertising-related acquisitions

Summary: Even if you don't (yet) count Yahoo, the Redmondians are building out their advertising portfolio through acquisitions.


On March 14, Microsoft acquired another Web-advertising vendor, Rapt.

It's clear: The Redmondians are building out their advertising portfolio through acquisitions.

Microsoft was thwarted in its attempt to buy (and then block-Google's acquisition of) DoubleClick. And it's still uncertain whether Microsoft will pull off its acquisition of Yahoo, which would be the grand-daddy of not just all advertising-specific acquisitions, but all Microsoft acquisitions in general. (Yes, Microsoft and Yahoo allegedly are talking, sans lawyers. The actual Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo could still face a long and rocky road ahead.)

In the interim, Microsoft has managed to buy a number of other niche advertising-related players over the past couple of years, including:

2008: Rapt -- advertising yield-management technology for digital publishers 2008: YaData -- online advertising targeting technology 2007: Multimap -- location-based services 2007: aQuantive -- advertising platform,tools and services 2007: adECN -- advertising-exchange platform 2007: ScreenTonic -- mobile ad-serving platform 2007: TellMe -- voice and mobile-search services 2006: Massive -- in-game advertising platform

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted late last year as saying he expected Microsoft to buy about 20 companies a year for the next five years, with most being in the $50 million to $1 billion range. I wonder if Microsoft's $44 billion bid for Yahoo will end up reducing that total.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Banking, Enterprise Software, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • What's the big deal?

    Any bully can take over more and more
    neighborhoods, as long as everybody
    is too afraid to stop him!
    Ole Man
  • Hmmm, acquisitions . . Google, Sun, IBM

    Oracle, all of them buying some other small fish. How bully.