Microsoft has made their largest aquisition in their history with the $6 billion purchase of online advertising technology company aQuantive Inc. An...

Microsoft has made their largest acquisition in their history with the  $6 billion purchase of online advertising technology company aQuantive Inc. An internal email sent to Microsoft employees suggests that the deal will help Microsoft go beyond online advertising to in-game and web-TV. An extract:

Our commitment is to capture our share of both the $40 billion online ad opportunity and the larger $600 billion ad market, which includes TV and gaming, and is rapidly shifting to the world of online and IP-served platforms.  To help us reach our goals, I’m pleased to announce that Microsoft will acquire aQuantive, Inc.

We are excited about the strategic value this acquisition brings to Microsoft in a few key areas:

* Platform. This deal enhances our current advertising platform with complementary technologies.  For the first time, we’ll offer display advertising solutions for all ad agencies and publishers on any Web site on the Internet.  With these new assets, we also increase our ability to build and support next generation advertising solutions and platforms such as cross media planning, video-on-demand, and IPTV.

* Tools and Services. This deal is an extension of Microsoft’s commitment to provide a set of tools and services that will enable the advertising industry to generate the highest possible return on their ad investments.

…Today’s announcements clearly demonstrate Microsoft’s long-term commitment to digital advertising.  The combination of Microsoft and aQuantive’s reach, audience intelligence tools, and expertise across publisher and agency tools will help us grow our reach and share in the online ad space.

…This acquisition is a bold strategic step for our online services business, and we should all be excited by the possibilities that lie ahead with aQuantive and Microsoft working together.  Our opportunity is to provide the best experiences for users, advertisers, and publishers, delivered via great software + services, a world-class ad platform, and the industry’s leading sales and support organization.

aQuantive describes itself as:

aQuantive, Inc., a digital marketing company, was founded in 1997 to
help marketers acquire, retain and grow customers across all digital
media. Through its operating units, Avenue A | Razorfish, a
full-service interactive agency, Atlas, a provider of digital marketing
technologies and expertise, and DRIVEpm and MediaBrokers, digital
performance media companies, aQuantive is positioned to bring value to
any interaction in the digital marketplace. aQuantive is headquartered
in Seattle, Washington.