The grapevine has been busy with speculation that Microsoft is looking to acquire digital advertising intermediary DoubleClick, and according to MediaPost they were pretty close to signing on the US$2 billion dotted line. And along came Google.
DoubleClick was very much the brand marketers’ online advertising provider of choice for years with a who’s who list of big corporate clients. While they’ve surely felt the pinch of Google’s meteoric rise to fame, their strong inventory of advertising space and big spending clients will be a valuable asset for whichever search engine secures the deal.
Microsoft’s AdCenter is still floundering compared to Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing. As Google and more recently Yahoo! have both expanded their platforms and networks considerably, Microsoft continues to suffer from credibility concerns and seems to be falling further behind.
The acquisition of DoubleClick would have bolstered Microsoft’s profile in advertising circles and helped them buy some ground on their rivals. Unfortunately, Google’s interest in the DoubleClick deal could see the asking price move beyond Microsoft’s budget.
As Yahoo! and AOL already have ties with online advertising companies, it’s unlikely they’ll pursue the deal, leaving Google and Microsoft to battle it out. Considering Google’s recent efforts to expand their advertising media options and network reach, buying into the DoubleClick deal could be a strategic block to keep Microsoft out in the cold.
Microsoft stands to lose a lot more than pride if they miss this opportunity – so don’t expect them to go down without a fight.