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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.

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June 11, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Microsoft, too, urging greater government transparency on security requests

Microsoft this afternoon joined several other high-tech companies in urging the U.S. government to permit more transparency on some of the national security requests it makes of tech companies.

The move came after reports broke last week in The Guardian and The Washington Post about a U.S. government surveillance program code-named PRISM, which targets primarily foreigners. It  allows the U.S. government access to  user information from computer servers of Microsoft and eight other technology companies.

“Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including FISA orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues,” the company said in a statement.

Microsoft was referring to orders issued by the government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The tech companies are not allowed to disclose the number or scope of FISA orders it gets, or even, according to The New York Times, to acknowledge that those orders exist.

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February 28, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Facebook acquires Atlas from Microsoft

Facebook, as rumored, has announced that it’s acquiring Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft.

Seattle-based Atlas is a digital media measurement platform; it provides measurement, analytical and management tools for ad campaigns and marketing agencies.

Atlas was part of digital ad company aQuantive, which Microsoft had purchased for $6.3 billion in 2007. Last year, Microsoft took a $6.2 billion writedown for aQuantive.

Facebook said, in a posting today from Brian Boland, director of product marketing, that it believes its purchase of Atlas “will benefit both marketers and users.”

Atlas has been an approved partner for measuring ad campaigns on Facebook since June, and Atlas clients should not see any change to the service, Boland said.

He also said:

Today’s marketing environment is much more complex than it was just a few short years ago. Marketers and agencies struggle to understand how their efforts across different channels complement and strengthen each other. Consequently, they are forced to adopt siloed marketing strategies for each channel, leading to poor and inconsistent end-user experiences.

This challenge also provides an opportunity. If marketers and agencies can get a holistic view of campaign performance, they will be able to do a much better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time. Atlas has built capabilities that allow for this kind of measurement, and enhancing these systems will give marketers a deeper understanding of effectiveness and lead to better digital advertising experiences for consumers.

The Atlas team will continue to operate from Seattle, joining the Facebook team here. According to Boland, “our Seattle engineering office already drives important parts of our ad system, and we plan to substantially invest in and build out our Seattle engineering and product teams.”

Facebook plans to invest in scaling Atlas’ back-end measurement systems and improve its user interface, functionality and current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CNBC is reporting the deal was valued at about $100 million.

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: aquantive, atlas, facebook

February 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Report: Facebook to purchase Atlas Solutions from Microsoft

Facebook is reportedly announcing tomorrow that it’s acquiring Atlas Solutions from Microsoft, according to AdAge, which cites two people briefed on the plans. Atlas is a digital media measurement platform that was part of digital ad company aQuantive. Microsoft had purchased aQuantive for $6.3 billion in 2007 and took a $6.2 billion writedown for it…

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February 22, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Microsoft says a small number of its computers hacked

Following reports by Facebook and Apple that their computers had been hacked, Microsoft today said that it also “recently experienced a similar security intrusion.” The attacks, Microsoft said, affected only a small number of its computers, “including some in our Mac business unit.” The techniques used by the attackers, Microsoft said, were similar to those…

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