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Microsoft Grabs ScreenTonic For Mobile Ads

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Microsoft bought its way into mobile advertising by acquiring Paris-based ScreenTonic, and picked up a foothold in European mobile ad delivery in the deal.

Two sectors of digital advertising look like the major growth areas for online firms: local and mobile. They intersect in a way, since someone who is on the road looking for a local business probably has a mobile phone on hand to help with the search.

Cellphone ownership has become common across all walks of life. Major Internet players like Microsoft want to cash in on their ubiquity by pushing advertising to mobile users. Yahoo, AOL, and Google all have similar desires.

Instead of partnering with someone for mobile ad delivery, Microsoft has opted to do what a multi-billion cash pile allows CEO Steve Ballmer to do: go forth and buy someone who’s already doing what you want to do today.

This brought ScreenTonic into the dollar-lined embrace of Microsoft. ScreenTonic has been focused on mobile advertising for several years in the European market.

Since ScreenTonic is privately held, financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. ScreenTonic’s service will augment Microsoft’s Digital Advertising Solutions products, Microsoft’s spokespeople noted in a statement.

Senior VP Steve Berkowitz of Microsoft’s Online Services Group said: "The acquisition of ScreenTonic will be part of our long-term strategy to deliver ad experiences that map to the environment. Together, we will be able to provide relevant ads where consumers are, when they are actively engaged and communicating."

Rolling out that strategy in Europe should be an easy one for Microsoft. ScreenTonic has done much of the work already, as they have relationships with large mobile operators in Belgium, France, and the U.K.

A report by media research group Visiongain said mobile advertising in Europe and the U.S. should be a $1 billion-plus market by 2009.

Microsoft Grabs ScreenTonic For Mobile Ads
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