Microsoft $6 billion punch to Google: aQuantive trumps DoubleClick?

NEWS FLASH: Microsoft to Acquire aQuantive, Inc; Company details plans to build Internet-wide advertising platform for advertisers, publishers and ad agencies.That is exactly how I learned the news while attending the Google CEO keynote this morning at the Personal Democracy Forum underway in downtown Manhattan, straight from a Lehman Brothers Investment Banker I happened to be sitting next to who graciously shared the alert via his Blackberry.

NEWS FLASH: Microsoft to Acquire aQuantive, Inc; Company details plans to build Internet-wide advertising platform for advertisers, publishers and ad agencies.

That is exactly how I learned the news while attending the Google CEO keynote this morning at the Personal Democracy Forum underway in downtown Manhattan, straight from a Lehman Brothers Investment Banker I happened to be sitting next to who graciously shared the alert via his Blackberry.

(see Google CEO Schmidt on ‘Personal Democracy’: Up For Sale)

Who says Microsoft is an acquisition cheapskate? Microsoft a $3.1 billion "wimp" in the Google DoubleClick bidding, or even, Microsoft bidding up the DoubleClick price just to spite Google before ducking out at the most (in)opportune time?

aQuantive is being acquired in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $6 billion: Microsoft IS serious about winning in online advertising, maybe even twice as serious as Google DoubleClick!

Microsoft is in fact touting its economic "firepower" to drive growth. Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson:

"This deal takes our advertising business to a new level. This allows us to take a bigger piece of that $40 billion pie that is still growing."

In aQuantive, Microsoft gains three primary assets in the quest for its just online advetising desserts:

ATLAS Publisher Platform and Media Console for content monetization and advertising ROI,

DRIVEpm Content matching for targeted advertiser campaigns,

Avenue A/Razorfish interactive advertising agency for creative, media planning and buying.

Steve Ballmer, CEO:

"The advertising industry is evolving and growing at an incredible pace, moving increasingly toward online and IP-served platforms, which dramatically increases the importance of software for this industry. Today’s announcement represents the next step in the evolution of our ad network from our initial investment in MSN, to the broader Microsoft network including Xbox Live, Windows Live and Office Live, and now to the full capacity of the Internet. Microsoft is intensely committed to creating a thriving advertising business and to partnering closely with all key constituencies in this industry to help maximize the digital advertising opportunity for all."

Conviently, aQuantive is based in Microsoft-friendly Seattle, to boot!

UPDATE: Why Google Fears Microsoft, big time