[SEATTLE] Microsoft Corp said on Monday it will hand over its display advertising business to AOL Inc and sell some map-generating technology to ride-hailing app company Uber, as it slims down its money-losing online operations.
The moves mean Microsoft will focus on its growing search advertising business based on its Bing search engine, and displaying maps on its Windows devices rather than generating the maps themselves.
Microsoft, which employs hundreds of people in its display ad business around the world, said those employees would be offered the chance to transfer to AOL and that it was not making any layoffs.
Microsoft no longer breaks out results for its online operations, chiefly its MSN web portal and Bing, but they have lost more than US$10 billion over the past five years. Chief Executive Satya Nadella has said Bing will turn a profit next fiscal year. "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 Microsoft in a statement.
Under a 10-year deal struck with AOL, now a unit of Verizon Communications Inc, AOL will sell display ads on MSN, Outlook.com, Xbox, Skype and in some apps in major countries. As part of the deal, Bing will become the search engine behind web searches on AOL starting next year.
Microsoft also struck a multi-year extension to its existing deal with AppNexus, which provides the tech platform for buyers to purchase online ads.
Microsoft did not disclose financial terms of its deal with Uber, saying only that it would no longer collect mapping imagery itself, but continue to work with imagery providers for underlying data on its own maps. Microsoft already gets much of its map data from Finland's Nokia. "We will transfer many of our imagery acquisition operations to Uber," said a Microsoft representative, without giving details. News site TechCrunch, which first reported the deal, said about 100 Microsoft employees would be transferred to Uber. Microsoft did not comment.