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Microsoft exits ad business in deal with AOL, hands maps to Uber

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Microsoft has inked a deal with Verizon-owned AOL that will see the latter take over its advertising business while Microsoft's Bing search engine will replace Google as the default search engine for AOL properties, keeping Bing for search ads.

Gone are the days when Microsoft wanted to compete with Google with that massive aQuantive purchase ($6bn- about £4bn, AU$8bn) in 2007, its biggest to that point), one that left it with a very expensive bill and with no other choice than to write it off completely just five years later.

Costly exit

Instead, Microsoft, under new CEO Satya Nadella, is focusing on getting the basics right and reinventing itself. Advertising company AppNexus will become its exclusive programmatic partner in 10 key markets with AOL covering the rest.

Rik van der Kooi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's ad business, said that it makes complete sense for the company to line up with AOL based on trends in the industry. About 1200 Microsoft staff will be offered jobs at AOL.

Microsoft has also announced that it will be selling digital mapping technology plus ancillary IP to Uber Technologies Inc, better known for its cabbing service, Uber. About 100 Bing Maps are expected to move over to Uber as the latter continues to work towards reducing its reliance on Google technology.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.