Microsoft is planning to bump up its commitment to the ad industry, proclaiming that within a few years advertising will account for a quarter of its business, the New York Times reports. Buying an internet ad company last August was not a speculative play, CEO Steve Ballmer told a gathering of European agencies yesterday; Microsoft is quite serious about expanding its presence in a field dominated by its arch-rival, Google.
Ballmer said that Microsoft's move was a natural consequence of a shift towards digital media in the ad industry: “Over time, all ad money will go through a digital ad platform,” he said. "All media goes digital; all advertising goes digital." Google, of course, is not sitting idly by; they're in the process of acquiring DoubleClick, the industry leader, a takeover Microsoft has called anticompetitive.