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Microsoft Advertising Historical Timeline
A brief history of milestone events in the life of Microsoft’s advertising business

Last updated: Sept. 2008

A product of the aQuantive, Inc. acquisition in August 2007, Microsoft Advertising provides world-class advertising platforms and tools for advertisers, agencies and publishers. Its mission is to make buying and selling media simpler, smarter and more cost-effective across media and devices in the Microsoft network of properties and beyond. The Microsoft Advertising portfolio includes Microsoft adCenter, Atlas, DRIVEpm, Massive, Navic Networks and ScreenTonic. Microsoft Advertising businesses span search, display and emerging media including mobile, gaming, video on demand, and IPTV.

Sept. 22, 2008

Microsoft and CNBC Inc. announce that Microsoft will be the exclusive third-party provider of mobile WAP site display advertising to’s U.S. mobile audience of 1.1 million unique monthly visitors. The alliance represents Microsoft’s first mobile ad syndication deal in the U.S. and is an extension of the companies’ online advertising collaboration announced in December 2007.

Jul. 7, 2008

Microsoft announces it is the exclusive third-party provider of contextual and paid search advertising for the Rodale network of sites including,,, and others, which reaches over 70 million unique visitors each month. The terms of the deal with Rodale are not public.

Jun. 17, 2008

Microsoft acquired Navic Networks, a leading provider of television advertising solutions, and folds it into its Emerging Media Group. With the addition of Navic solutions, Microsoft will apply its unique portfolio of advertising platform assets to partner with advertisers to better facilitate media spend on television advertising.

Jun. 3, 2008

Massive Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft, is the first dynamic in-game advertising network to successfully complete a third-party impression audit by Interactive Services Media Group, Ltd.

May 21, 2008

Microsoft announces it will offer ad-funded cash rebates to customers who find and purchase their favorite products through a new program called Microsoft Live Search cashback. Key advertising partners include eBay, Barnes &,, Sears, and WPP.

May 20, 2008

Microsoft announces the availability of display ads for Windows Live for Mobile and announced the upcoming beta of Live Search Mobile which allows brands to place marketing messages directly where mobile users are interacting with different media. Some of the large brand advertisers participating in Windows Live for mobile advertising include FedEx, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Paramount.

May 20, 2008

Microsoft launches Microsoft Advertising, a new brand identity designed to unify all of the tools and solutions offered to advertisers, agencies and publishers.

Apr. 3, 2008

Microsoft acquires Rapt Inc., a leading provider of advertising yield management solutions for digital media publishers, and folds it into its Atlas division. Rapt’s offerings will be a key component of the Atlas Publisher Suite of technologies and services.

Feb. 27, 2008

Microsoft acquires Israel-based YaData, bringing advanced behavioral targeting tools and expertise to Microsoft’s advertising platform.

Feb. 25, 2008

Microsoft introduces Engagement Mapping, a new reporting standard for digital campaigns, and the availability of an engagement ROI beta project, an online campaign reporting and optimization solution available through the Atlas Media Console.

Jan. 29, 2008

Microsoft becomes the exclusive third-party provider of contextual and paid search advertising for the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, including The Wall Street Journal Online,,, and others.

Jan. 16, 2008

Microsoft becomes the exclusive advertising inventory partner for EDGAR Online, selling and serving display, contextual and video ads on the site for a two year term. Content from EDGAR Online, including SEC filings, will also be made available on MSN Money.

Jan. 14, 2008

MediaCart, Microsoft and Wakefern team up to serve video ads on MediaCart’s digital grocery cart systems in ShopRite stores. Microsoft’s Atlas Division will provide anonymous targeted advertising to shoppers directly at the point of purchase.

Dec. 19, 2007

Viacom and Microsoft strike a multi-year content and advertising partnership that involves Viacom’s online games, television shows and films. Microsoft will help Viacom place advertising on its network of entertainment Web sites in the U.S., such as As part of the agreement, Microsoft will be the exclusive seller in the U.S. of remnant display advertising.

Dec. 10, 2007

Microsoft begins offering ads on MSN Mobile in the U.S. The company will start with advertisements from Bank of America, Paramount Pictures and Jaguar.

Dec. 10, 2007

Microsoft becomes the exclusive third-party provider of display and contextual advertising for

Dec. 3, 2007

Navic Networks teams up with Bravo, Cox, Charter, Comcast and Time Warner Cable to power the first large-scale, cross-operator enhanced television program which enables viewers to vote for their favorite contestants using their standard remote controls.

Nov. 14, 2007

Massive announces the addition of premier Activision titles Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Tony Hawk Proving Ground to the Massive Network.

Nov. 1, 2007

Microsoft launches a beta of adCenter analytics, a free web tool that enables advertisers and agencies to track how customers get to a web site, where they go, and how they leave.

Oct. 24, 2007

Facebook and Microsoft expand their advertising partnership, and Microsoft takes a $240 million equity stake in the company. Under the expanded strategic alliance, Microsoft becomes the exclusive third-party advertising platform partner for Facebook, and begins to sell advertising for Facebook internationally, as well as in the U.S.

Sept. 18, 2007

Navic Networks introduces Admira, a revolutionary media placement service that enables advertisers to behaviorally target television advertising.

Aug. 27, 2007

Microsoft launches ContentAds, its contextual advertising solution; in the U.S. Content ads are placed on Microsoft network pages, starting with MSN Tech & Gadgets, MSN Money, MSN Real Estate and Windows Marketplace, with plans to expand coverage to all MSN pages, other Microsoft-owned properties, and premium partner sites.

Aug. 13, 2007

Microsoft acquires aQuantive, Inc. and creates the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) group.

Aug. 8, 2007

Massive releases a ground-breaking research study that reveals in-game advertising drives key brand metrics across ad categories.

July 27, 2007

Massive announces addition of premier video game titles from Electronic Arts, including Madden NFL 08, NASCAR 08, NHL 08, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 and SKATE to the Network.

July 25, 2007

Microsoft and Digg Inc. announce an agreement through which Microsoft becomes the site’s exclusive provider of display and contextual advertising.

July 7, 2007

Live Earth global concerts reach more than 10 million viewers online at and inspire change in viewers worldwide. MSN, the exclusive online media partner for Live Earth, allows people to watch live online feeds or recorded footage from earlier performances at no charge from all eight concerts, each located in different cities around the world. Live Earth is a monumental music event lasting 24 hours and reaching across 7 continents to deliver a worldwide call to action to combat the climate crisis and the solutions necessary to answer that call.

May 3, 2007

Microsoft acquires ScreenTonic SA, a mobile advertising pioneer, in a move that combines the breadth of Microsoft offerings with the mobile expertise and industry relationships of ScreenTonic to help advertisers reach a global audience of mobile users.

March 26, 2007

Microsoft and Piczo, the UK’s leading networking web site for teens, join forces to offer advertisers new opportunities to reach over two thirds of UK teens. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft will be Piczo’s exclusive UK ad sales partner across all communication formats and market categories.

Dec. 11, 2006

Atlas acquires Accipiter, a leading seller of ad serving technologies to web publishers in more than 20 countries and creates the Atlas Publisher suite.

Nov. 1, 2006

Atlas launches Atlas In-Stream Video, a new web-based video advertising capability allowing marketers and publishers the ability to place in-stream video ads on the web as easily as display banners, plus accurately measure the conversion and reach of the campaigns across a multi-site media plan.

Sept. 6, 2006

Technology from Atlas and SeaChange enables groundbreaking dynamic ad insertion campaign for on-demand television.

Aug. 31, 2006

EA joins the Massive Network for titles on the Xbox360 and PC platforms. The move will offer marketers on a global basis new dynamic advertising opportunities across select EA franchises.

Aug. 22, 2006

Microsoft and Facebook announce a strategic alliance in which the two companies will collaborate to bring relevant advertising to the more than 9 million registered users of Facebook, the Internet’s leading social directory. As part of the relationship, Microsoft will be the exclusive provider of banner advertising and sponsored links on Facebook.

July 21, 2006

Atlas announces it is the first third-party ad server to complete the auditing process and achieve ad measurement accreditation by the Media Rating Council (MRC). MRC accreditation certifies that Atlas technology adheres to the marketing-industry standard for counting interactive advertising impressions, and that its processes supporting this technology are accurate.

June 21, 2006

Atlas releases the first research study to measure the effectiveness of digital video by defining the “brand exposure duration” metric for advertising effectiveness. This study uncovers the critical role of video advertising length in driving Brand Exposure Duration and quantifies the value of online rich media and integrated paid search marketing and online campaign management system.

May 17, 2006

aQuantive acquires Franchise Gator, an Atlanta-based internet-based franchise pay-for-performance marketing company.

May 4, 2006

Microsoft announces it is acquiring Massive, Inc., the creator of a world-leading network for video game advertising, in a move that will help deliver dynamic, relevant ads across Microsoft’s online services, starting with Xbox Live and MSN Games.

April 6, 2006

Massive announces partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the MLBPA to deliver in-game advertising into “Major League Baseball® 2K6.”

Dec. 20, 2005

Atlas announces the availability of adCenter from MSN to its Paid Search System. adCenter provides an API to Atlas Search, enabling Atlas clients to manage paid search listings on MSN together with more than 30 other leading search engines via a single software interface. The relationship with MSN further extends marketers’ ability to buy, track and optimize a search marketing campaign across multiple search engines and in conjunction with their web media campaigns through a single system, reducing complexity, saving time and improving results.

July 25, 2005

The Massive video game network launches full motion video and audio ads into games, a groundbreaking new advertising element.

April 25, 2005

Atlas introduces Atlas Rich Media, a new integrated offering built on four years of market-tested technology. The tool provides ad agencies and enterprise marketers a streamlined solution for campaign planning, delivery, and reporting of rich media formats.

April 11, 2005

The Massive Network launches globally with blue-chip advertisers including Coca-Cola brands, Comcast’s G4, Dunkin’ Donuts, Honda Element & Honda S2000, Intel, Paramount Pictures, T-Mobile, Universal Music Group and Verizon.

April 7, 2005

MSN announces the broad, global availability of MSN Messenger 7.0 and MSN Spaces. Since the MSN Spaces beta version was introduced in late 2004, more than 4.5 million Spaces have been created, making MSN Spaces one of the fastest-growing blogging services in the world. Globally, more than 155 million customers are using MSN Messenger service each month, and MSN recorded that customers were exchanging more than 2.5 billion instant messages (IMs) every day.

April 7, 2005

MSN opens up new opportunities for advertisers in MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces. MSN announces the first U.S. advertising partner for MSN Spaces: Volvo Cars of North America LLC.

March 16, 2005

Microsoft unveils its next-generation online advertising platform, Microsoft adCenter at its sixth annual Strategic Account Summit, a leading industry forum held on the main campus in Redmond.

February 1, 2005

The first paid, live ad campaigns are delivered into the Massive Network.

June 18, 2004

MSN announces a new advertising program in the United States called MSN Creative Connection that aims to test limits of online marketing and gives print, broadcast and outdoor advertising pioneers free rein to push the boundaries of online marketing on some of the most coveted advertising space on the Internet.

May 24, 2004

Atlas launches Atlas Search, the industry’s first integrated search marketing and online campaign management system.

April 26, 2004

aQuantive launches DRIVEpm, a new entry into the performance media space. DRIVEpm serves as a liaison between online publishers and advertisers by buying blocks of online ad inventory from publishers and reselling the inventory to advertisers on a highly targeted basis.

March 25, 2004

A study unveiled at the fifth annual Microsoft Strategic Account Summit concludes that online advertising can produce significant increases in product branding and offline sales. In findings released based on studies conducted between November 2003 and January 2004 of consumer-packaged goods brands, results recommend levels of online spending that are dramatically higher than the average. Researchers determined that online advertising generated lifts in sales ranging from 7 percent to 12.5 percent.

Feb. 16, 2004

A special online marketing campaign conceived and developed by MSN allows Visa Extras, a customer rewards program from Visa USA, to reach out to small businesses via a branded Web site for owners of small companies. The site, located at, debuts in the United States.

Feb. 11, 2004

aQuantive’s Atlas acquires NetConversions, a Web-site-usability company.

Dec. 15, 2003

aQuantive’s Atlas acquires GO TOAST, a leading paid search management and optimization technology provider.

Nov. 2, 2003

MSN debuts an innovative, custom online marketing program for American Honda Motor Co. for the online launch of the 2004 Honda Accord. The campaign includes extensive use of video and consumer participation to capture the attention of the millions of consumers who frequent MSN.

Sept. 22, 2003

aQuantive, Inc. is named the number one fastest-growing technology company in Washington State according to the Deloitte & Touche LLP 2003 Washington State Technology Fast 50.

Feb. 23, 2003

Avenue A announces it will change its name to aQuantive, Inc. in an effort to develop a corporate identity that encompasses all of their current brands.

Sept. 22, 2002

MSN announces its alliance with Eyeblaster Inc. and PointRoll Inc., two leading developers and distributors of rich media advertisements. Advertisers now can place media ads with moving and expanding images, full-page overlays, and interstitial windows or other features across the 12 most popular channels on MSN, including CNBC on MSN Money, MSNBC and the MSN Autos online automotive service.

June 2002

MSN announces its first sponsorship of the 49th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. As exclusive sponsor of the Cyber Lions awards, MSN honors creative excellence and champions the power of online media.

Aug. 9, 2001

MSN launches the MSN Advantage Marketing Program, a formalized worldwide program for its digital marketing offerings focused on delivering comprehensive products, technology and services that provide better results for brand and direct-response marketers.

May 7, 2001

Atlas builds “awareness conversions” (also known as view-based conversions) to evaluate online branding. Using this new methodology of testing, Atlas quantifies conversions of “Branding Effect” from banners as compared to a control group. The experiment resulted in a 10% boost in overall sales for the advertiser – which the advertiser would not have received had they not run the ad campaign. 80% of those sales resulted from Awareness Conversions.

Oct. 11, 2000

Avenue A announces its Atlas Digital Marketing Technology Suite; the first buy-side digital marketing system for advertising agencies and media groups.

Feb. 29, 2000

Avenue A announces the pricing of its initial public offering of 5,250,000 shares of its common stock.

Sept. 13, 1999

Brian McAndrews joins the executive team of Avenue A as Chief Executive Officer.

September 1997

Avenue A is founded by Mike Galgon, Mike Leo, Scott Lipsky, and Nick Hanauer. Lipsky develops ‘action tags’ as a fundamental technique for making online advertising more accountable, allowing measurement of conversions for the first time in industry history, and thereby greatly legitimizing online advertising.

Aug. 24, 1995

The MSN network of Internet services debuts in the United States.

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