Microsoft on Monday revealed it will be shutting down portions of its display advertising business across nine markets and handing off those duties to AOL and AppNexus. In exchange, Bing will now power search and search advertising across all of AOL’s properties for the next 10 years.
Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft corporate vice president of advertising and consumer monetization and Frank Holland, Microsoft corporate vice president of A&O, announced the change in a blog post earlier today. The duo said the news was evidence of Microsoft’s renewed focus on its strengths. In a rare disclosure, the Microsoft executives also mentioned Bing is a sustainable multibillion-dollar business, so that's where they are focusing on.
Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that up to 1,200 people could be impacted by the move.
Microsoft’s decision to outsource its advertising sales department isn’t all that surprising.
The company entered into a 10-year partnership with Yahoo in 2009 in which Yahoo would be responsible for selling Bing ads. In April, CEOs Marissa Mayer and Satya Nadella mutually agreed to amend the original partnership which meant Microsoft was once again in charge of selling its own ads.
AOL has been in the news a lot as of late. Just last week, Verizon completed its $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL just six weeks after announcing the deal.
Nadella’s vision of what Microsoft should be continues to take shape. A handful of senior executives announced plans to depart a couple of weeks ago including former Nokia chief Stephen Elop. Days later, Nadella e-mailed staffers regarding its updated mission statement with hopes it would serve as a rallying cry following the company’s tumultuous past few years.