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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

October 1, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Is Microsoft serious about staying in the online advertising business?

Microsoft faces big challenges in its online advertising efforts. Just two examples: The company’s 2007 aquisition of online ad agency aQuantive ended up with MIcrosoft aking a $6.2 billion write-down last quarter. It faces ongoing challenges trying to raise revenue per search in its partnership with Yahoo.

Now, apparently, there’s more churn and turmoil going on in Microsoft’s online advertising ventures, leading some in the ad industry to wonder if the company is serious about staying in the field.

That’s according to an article in Adweek.

The article, written by Adweek digital editor Mike Shields, posits that “this may be the beginning of the end for Microsoft Advertising.”

Among the choice quotes in the report: ” ‘They are irrelevant,’ says a digital media recruiter. ‘All I have is resumes from Microsoft ad execs looking to get out.’ ”

Shields also reports on some personnel departures:

For years, industry watchers have questioned Microsoft’s commitment to advertising. Those doubts have only grown since the company’s recent broad-based retrenchment. In past months, the company pulled out of MSNBC.com and closed its TV division, mobile ads group and much-respected Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team (BEET). On top of all that, Microsoft recently jettisoned several top sales execs, including Richard Dunmall, Mari Kim Novak and Marc Bresseel. And many attributed the company’s $6.2 billion write-down in July to the much-maligned acquisition of aQuantive for $6 billion in 2007.

The talent drain has only continued of late. Adweek has learned that Todd Dunlap, who was vp & COO of Microsoft Advertising, has left the company to become managing director and president of Booking.com. Jason Scott, gm, Microsoft Advertising Asia, resigned last week.

In the article, Microsoft execs say the company is absolutely committed to staying in advertising and that the personnel churm is a “refocus.”

Anyway — it’s a very interesting read. You can read it here.

[Update 3:46 p.m.: Microsoft issued the following statement: “We are optimistic and confident about Microsoft’s advertising business. We have a growing and powerful portfolio of consumer assets that demonstrate the value we can deliver at scale to consumers and marketers. We have tremendous opportunity ahead with Windows 8, Xbox, Skype, mobile and a continually evolving MSN.”]

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