SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook is buying a set of online advertising tools called Atlas from Microsoft in its latest attempt to build a more effective marketing system around its social network.
In making the deal announced Thursday, Facebook is betting the acquired technology will be more fruitful under new ownership than it was during the past 5 1/2 years under Microsoft’s control. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Atlas is part of an online advertising service called aQuantive, which Microsoft Corp. bought for US$6.3 billion in 2007. Aquantive didn’t bring in as much online ad revenue as Microsoft envisioned, prompting the software maker to absorb a US$6.2 billion charge last year that resulted in its first quarterly loss in its 26-year history as a public company.
Given the magnitude of that write-down, Facebook probably didn’t have to pay much to take Atlas off Microsoft’s hands. The undisclosed purchase price is a sign that the amount isn’t substantial enough to leave a big dent in the company’s finances.