A look back at Microsoft's advertising-related acquisitions

Even if you don't (yet) count Yahoo, the Redmondians are building out their advertising portfolio through acquisitions.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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