Microsoft has formed a new unit to work with advertisers and publishers and gain a foothold in an online ad market. The creation of the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group comes on completion of its 6 billion buy of online ad firm aQuantive, the software maker’s largest acquisition ever. Microsoft named Brian McAndrews, the former CEO of aQuantive, to head the new group, which will be responsible for building and marketing all of Microsoft’s ad businesses.
Microsoft has lagged behind Google and Yahoo in online search. Google, the market leader, has built a multibillion dollar business from search, while Microsoft’s online services group has not yet been profitable.
McAndrews sees other forms of Web advertising playing a larger role as new forms of media like online video gain acceptance. "Search was a key part of the growth in the last several years," McAndrews told Reuters. "With more emerging media, we’ll continue to see search be very important, but just a part of the mix and a less significant part of the mix over time."