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DoubleClick Reflects Shifting Strategy for Microsoft

In report published on Wednesday, sources told the Journal that Microsoft was leading the way in negotiations to buy ad-serving provider DoubleClick from the private-equity group Hellman & Friedman for an estimated $2 billion. Why?

An acquisition of DoubleClick would drive home the point that Microsoft's build-not-buy strategy just isn't working via Web-based advertising. DoubleClick, however, "is right in the middle of it," acting as a middleman between advertisers, ad agencies and online publishers. The ad server brings experience to the table that competitors Google and Yahoo have, but Microsoft is only just learning. "DoubleClick would complete the suite for them," says Rob Norman, CEO of interactive ad shop MEC Interaction Global.

It's not exactly a secret that MSN, Microsoft's Web division, hasn't been a success. About a year and half ago, documents leaked to the press revealed that Microsoft now sees Google as the biggest threat to core businesses like corporate software and video gaming. The fear is that everything will soon be Web-based, which is Google's specialty, not Microsoft's. Because of this, Microsoft needs to shift its strategy to buy.



Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal »

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