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Microsoft reveals online advertising tool

Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer unveiled the MSN adCenter yesterday, a new tool targeting the online advertising market.

Just a couple weeks ago Microsoft released a search engine designed to compete with Google and Yahoo and a desktop search tool. The new tool completes the company’s search offering and should help to improve its competitive position in the Internet advertising, which generated $9.6 billion in revenue last year, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Google and Yahoo dominate the online search market, which is by far the largest segment of the web advertising market, with the market shares of 35.1 and 31.8 percent respectively. Microsoft is a distant third, with just 16 percent.

The MSN adCenter will allow advertisers to buy combinations of keywords and target audience using personal data of registered users. "We're really giving advertisers a better opportunity to connect with their audience," said MSN product manager Karen Redetzki.

According to Microsoft, the new tool will be tested first in France and Singapore for six months, and then rolled out in the United States. Microsoft said it would keep using Overture Services provided by Yahoo for its search ad sales until the contract expiration in 2006.

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