Microsoft’s search engine will power AOL search and search advertising next year, replacing Google, the companies announced.
AOL plans to launch Bing-powered search capabilities on Jan. 1, 2016, as part of a new 10-year search and advertising agreement. On the advertising side, AOL will take over Microsoft’s display, mobile and video advertising in nine markets, including the United States. Other countries include Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the U.K.
AOL will assume control of ad inventory across Microsoft’s online properties, including MSN, Outlook.com, Skype and Xbox. The deal also covers ads that appear in Microsoft apps.
“We have enjoyed a terrific relationship with Microsoft, and this expanded partnership is a win for both companies and our advertiser partners as our industry continues to rapidly transform and evolve,” said AOL President Bob Lord in a statement. “This collaboration further validates our leadership position in digital advertising and the shift to automation, while also allowing Microsoft to focus on what they do best: industry leading services and search innovation.”
Despite seemingly taking a step back from online advertising, an area the company has struggled against Google, Microsoft is still very much in the game, according to Microsoft’s Rik van der Kooi, corporate vice president of advertising and consumer monetization, and Frank Holland, corporate vice president of Advertising and Online.
“Today’s news is evidence of Microsoft’s increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services,” said the execs in a joint blog post. “We remain as committed today as we have been in the past decade to digital advertising and its effectiveness in delivering free services to consumers worldwide.”
The deal came nearly a week after Verizon announced it had completed its $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL on June 23. Speaking of the telecommunication giant’s foray into online content, Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said it was his company’s vision to “provide customers with a premium digital experience based on a global multi-screen network platform,” in a May 12 statement.
“This acquisition supports our strategy to provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience,” continued Lowell.
Meanwhile, car-hailing app maker Uber is snapping up Microsoft’s Bing Maps technology and roughly 100 employees, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Uber, which currently uses Google Maps to power its popular app, is acquiring street and 3D mapping tech from the company. Financial terms are being kept under wraps.
This latest rash of deal making by the Redmond, Wash., technology company indicates that CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft’s recently revamped leadership are wasting little time in setting the company’s new agenda in motion. “We will need to innovate in new areas, execute against our plans, make some tough choices in areas where things are not working and solve hard problems in ways that drive customer value,” Nadella wrote in an internal email to employees last week.