Between 2006 and 2008, Microsoft bought at least eight search/advertising-related companies. On the list: Massive, aQuantive and AdECN, among others.
AllThingsD reported on January 31 that Microsoft has decided to outsource its ad-exchange services to AppNexus instead of using AdECN. From AllThingsD's report:
"In February, ad tech start-up AppNexus will begin selling Microsoft's "non-premium" display ads via its own exchange. And Microsoft will essentially pull the plug on AdECN, the exchange it bought in 2007 but only began testing a year ago."
A Microsoft spokesperson said:
"Microsoft's extended partnership with AppNexus represents an important building block in our scale display strategy. AppNexus has begun providing core real-time bidded offerings to Microsoft customers and as a result, we've discontinued our investments in AdECN as our RTB platform and are now referring to our offering as the Microsoft Advertising Exchange. The people who were working on AdECN have been redeployed to other roles within the organization, either in support of display or search" advertising."
In any case, it's now formalized: Microsoft will throw all of its unsold inventory into an exchange that AppNexus will power, starting with ad space on Windows Live Hotmail. Then it'll add in all of the inventory on MSN properties, and eventually ads from third-party publishers that Microsoft is working with, like Viacom.
[tags]ad network,adecn,appnexus,media advertising,ad space,display ads,real-time bidding,partnership,microsoft advertising exchange[/tags]