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Microsoft Buys Mobile Advertising Company

Microsoft, perhaps stung by its failure to buy online advertising giant DoubleClick in recent months, announced that it has bought European company ScreenTonic SA, a mobile advertising company.

Paris-based ScreenTonic offers display and text advertising, as well as ad management and reporting capabilities.

"The mobile Internet is an extraordinary vehicle for brands to connect with their target audiences, because devices like cell phones enable interaction to take place virtually anywhere or anytime," Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of the Online Services Group at Microsoft, said in a press release. "The acquisition of ScreenTonic will be part of our long-term strategy to deliver ad experiences that map to the environment. Together, we will be able to provide relevant ads where consumers are, when they are actively engaged and communicating."

That long-term strategy suffered a serious blow in mid-April when Microsoft lost out to Google in its bidding war for DoubleClick, which serves up and tracks ads all over the Internet, including search-related advertising. Google coughed up $3.1 billion for DoubleClick, a price Microsoft wasn't willing to meet. Once Google announced its victory, Microsoft released a statement by Senior Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith threatening to ask the federal government to look into the acquisition.

The ScreenTonic purchase allows Microsoft to get a toehold into the nascent mobile advertising market, which is sure to grow. The question is, how quickly? There are varying reports on Internet usage among cellphone and smartphone owners, ranging from just more than 10 percent to exceeding 30 and 40 percent.

In any event, expect to see more such purchases from Microsoft, as it strives to make up ground lost to Google in the DoubleClick acquisition.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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