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Microsoft Corp. is stepping back from the advertising business in a big way.
AOL struck a deal with the tech giant to take over responsibility for sales of display, mobile and video ads on Microsoft properties in the U.S. and eight other markets.
All of Microsoft’s roughly 1,200 advertising employees — from engineering to sales — will be getting offer letters to join AOL, according to a person familiar with the matter. Bing Replaces Google on AOL, Microsoft to Passes Ad Sales To AOL [blogs.wsj.com]
“We believe in the advertising model, and we care deeply about those services that are monetized through ads,” said Rik van der Kooi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s ad business. “But if you look at trends in the industry, it makes complete sense for us to line up with AOL.”
Aside from the nine markets covered by the AOL partnership, AppNexus will become Microsoft’s exclusive programmatic sales partner in 10 other markets, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Portugal.
AOL will sell ads for Microsoft properties in the markets of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.