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Monday, March 17, 2008

Microsoft to Buy Provider of Web Publishing Services

Slashdot It! The Microsoft Corporation plans to buy Rapt Inc., plugging a hole in its suite of tools for Web publishers and advertisers. Microsoft did not say what it would pay for Rapt, a privately held company based in San Francisco. Rapt’s software and consulting services help Web site publishers tweak how they package and price display-ad space. Scott Howe, a general manager in Microsoft’s advertiser and publisher solutions group, said Rapt’s system was similar to the one that airlines use to set ticket prices and track available seats. Microsoft plans to add Rapt’s programs to the Web publisher tools that it gained when it acquired aQuantive last year for $6 billion. The move “puts us way ahead of what other offerings are available in the market,” Mr. Howe said, likening Microsoft with Rapt to a jet plane, with rivals, including Google, being a bicycle. Microsoft has had hands-on experience as one of Rapt’s customers. Tom Chavez, Rapt’s chief executive, said his company’s technology helped increase MSN’s ad revenue 15 percent to 20 percent, a typical improvement. Rapt, which employs about 85 people, plans to remain in California. Microsoft expects the deal to close in the next month or so. Microsoft has bought several companies to fill out its digital ad offerings, including AdECN, a stock market-like exchange where networks representing Web sites buy and sell ad space, and Massive, which inserts ads into video games. Display advertising has not gotten as much attention, in part because of Google’s ability to turn search queries into billions of dollars in revenue. But that could change. Google has made its first big push into display advertising as it closed its $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, an online ad services company. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare Get paid $7.50 for reviewing my post Ad Space

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