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Mar 14, 2008

NEWS: Microsoft to Buy Web Ad Analysis Company

Microsoft to Buy Web Ad Analysis Company

SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. plans to buy Rapt Inc., plugging a hole in its suite of tools for Web publishers and advertisers, the software giant said Friday. Rapt's software and consulting services help Web site publishers tweak how they package and price display-ad space. Scott Howe, a general manager in Microsoft's advertiser and publisher solutions group, said Rapt's system is similar to the one airlines use to set ticket prices and track available seats.

Microsoft has had hands-on experience as one of Rapt's customers. Tom Chavez, Rapt's chief executive, said in an interview that his company's technology helped boost MSN's ad revenue 15 percent to 20 percent, a typical improvement.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker has bought several companies to fill out its digital ad offerings, including AdECN, a stock market-like exchange where networks representing Web sites buy and sell ad space, and Massive, which inserts ads into video games.

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