Dare it be said that rivals Google and Microsoft need each other, at least a little bit?
The answer is yes, of course, and in a very fundamental way. Microsoft's software is at the heart of the computers, cell phones or tablets required to use Google's Internet services. And a lot of people wouldn't buy computers if it wasn't for Google and other popular Internet features.
But what's emerged over the last few days is that Microsoft and Google have settled into complementary roles, when it comes to Internet radio: Microsoft -- ad provider; Google -- ad distributor.
So here, then, is a potential flashpoint for conflict between the two firms, which are increasingly bitter rivals. Or, which makes more sense, a chance for a newfound detente.
Here's why things seem to line up this way. According to a Tuesday announcement, McCann Worldgroup, owner of the largest digital network to deliver advertising, is now a "Microsoft shop," said Greg Smith, CIO.
In practice, Worldgroup has begun relying on Microsoft Connected Services Framework to produce and deliver ads for the Internet, magazines, newspapers, radio, television and any other kind of known medium.
Worldgroup is also actively promoting what it built over the last four months as an industry standard. So far, three of the five major interests are behind the idea, Smith said during a recent interview. A fourth may be on the verge of a Microsoft makeover, he adds.
So that means Microsoft's on the verge of becoming the technology used to produce a lot of the world's advertising.
On the other hand, Google's mainly focused on using its purchase of digital radio ad provider dMarc Broadcasting to extend the reach of its advertisers to digital radio stations.
dMarc's also a stepping stone to Google selling ads on digital television stations, when the time comes. All this fattens revenues, in theory, and keeps stockholders happy.
For now, where Microsoft and Google intersect in all this is in digital radio: The digital radio advertising pipeline, (aka Google), is fed with content created in a Microsoft-based world.