For the first time, Microsoft will now be working directly against Yahoo and Google in providing sales of online ads, in their new “adCenter” service. Limited to the U.S. only at first(although already running in limited forms in other countries), Microsoft's adCenter is a system in which paying subscribers get to specify particular dates and times to advertise, and of course it will collect “non-personal” information to share with the subscribers, including age, gender and “level of wealth”. In an interview with Mr Gates, it is made clear that Microsoft is keen on taking over the #1 spot.

And as in many interviews Gates does these days, the conversation eventually turned to Google. Gates said that the company has done a great job on search and advertising, and that the rivalry is a rare case where Microsoft is actually being underestimated.
Microsoft is spreading themselves out to a considerable degree. Of course, that makes them a target. Conglomerate companies find it hard to make friends. Will Microsoft take over as the #1 ad service on the web?