Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Online Advertising Company Buyouts: Then and Now

1998: Microsoft buys LinkExchange after Yahoo bought Yoyodyne and Excite bought MatchLogic (yeah, no one remembers them, either). “From a small-business perspective, we can take LinkExchange’s services and combine them with Microsoft technology,” said a Microsoft mouthpiece. Price: 250 million.

2007: Microsoft buys Aquantive after Google bought DoubleClick and AOL bought Advertising.com. “As a company, we’ve made a strategic bet that we are going to shift more and more things to this concept of software plus service, where we complement our software offerings that run on intelligent devices on the edge of the network with services delivered over the network. Many of those services will be monetized through online advertising,” said a Microsoft mouthpiece. Price: 6 billion.

So what’s changed in nine years? The numbers have gotten bigger and the explanations have gotten more obtuse. Last time, the bottom fell out of the online ad business two years after Microsoft bought an advertising company. Synchronize your watches.


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Hi, I’m Derek. I make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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