Microsoft wants to reinvent online advertising, replacing the dominant search engine model with a tracking system that would tell advertisers precisely which ads consumers had viewed before visiting their sites. The new model is the product of aQuantive, an internet ad firm purchased by Microsoft last month, whose main competitor is DoubleClick, which Google announced it would buy in April.
The purchase of the rival online advertising leaders by Microsoft and Google sets the stage for yet another showdown between them. AQuantive calls its system 'conversion attribution', and DoubleClick and others have similar experiments underway. But implementing them at a large scale requires massive computing power--something hefty Microsoft thinks it can provide in spades.