Microsoft Program Manager Jacob Rossi took to Twitter to deny that the company's Edge Web browser will soon have its own ad blocker. Instead, he clarified that it will support third-party options like AdBloc.
Whether ads are blocked or not through Microsoft's Edge browser will become less important as data provides site visitors with a better advertising experience. Insiders tell Search Marketing Daily that advertising will remain important, but for Microsoft success will build on back-end data from searches and site visits via its Edge browser rather than serving ads. "Microsoft knows more about you through data than it ever has before," according to one source familiar with the processes.
Microsoft's willingness to financially back a Yahoo acquisition lies in the data. Access to data via Yahoo's search network would give Microsoft insight to more than 158.8 million monthly users, factoring in searches from Bing, according to Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics. He said Bing's net reach will grow 9% to 64%, slightly closing the gap with Google Search.
Yahoo's home page notes that its visitors spend $3.3 billion online monthly, 12% more than other online users.
If Microsoft acquires Yahoo's assets, Verkasalo says, its biggest gain will come from email. Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook would have a combined user base of 131.2 million monthly users, adding 69%. The net reach resulting from a merger would mean 53% for Microsoft -- up from 31% for Outlook and 32% for Yahoo Mail. This will significantly close the gap on Gmail, which has a net reach of around 60%, according Verto data.
"The one who gets Yahoo will certainly own a set of valuable, increasingly mobile-centric properties, making a big difference in boosting mobile advertising businesses, Verkasalo says, acknowledging that even as a supporting partner through a loan facility the company can influence who owns Yahoo to ensure that the asset does not go to players who are strategic competitors or a threat to Microsoft.
Microsoft is a strong player in many areas including hardware, operating systems, productivity software and cloud computing, but Verkasalo believes it struggles more than it should without direct control of successful digital properties or ad platforms.
Google and Facebook, or new entrants like Amazon and Verizon, have upped the game through acquisitions. The direct or the indirect acquisition of Yahoo, Verkasalo says, would give Microsoft the perfect amount of ammunition to get back in the game in digital content and advertising.