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Verizon Picks Microsoft For Mobile Search And Advertising

verizon.gifFollowing several months of speculation, Verizon recently announced that Microsoft will be providing portal, local, and internet search and mobile advertising capabilities on the Verizon network. The five year agreement is set to start in mid-2009.

Verizon, which is part owned by Vodafone, will soon be the largest US mobile operator, with close to 78 million subscribers, once its acquisition of Alltel has gone through.

This agreement holds out the possibility for Microsoft to improve its position in the growing mobile search and advertising industry, and gives them a somewhat stronger position vis-a-vis arch-rival Google. Already Google provides search on the Sprint network, and on the G1 Android phones from T-Mobile, while Yahoo provides search on AT&T and T-Mobile’s Web2go.

The agreement will put Microsoft’s Live Search onto Verizon’s feature phones and smartphones. According to the press release, “Depending on which device they use, customers will be able to use voice commands and typed queries and even select to use location-aware searches to receive highly relevant search results, including maps, directions, traffic information, information on local businesses, movie theatres and show times, gas prices and weather.”

Microsoft will also manage search and display advertising on Verizon Wireless’ Mobile Web service, creating a “one-stop integrated way for advertisers and ad agencies to reach mobile consumers.”

John Stratton, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, said, “Wireless customers are increasingly using their phones to access the Web, browse and buy all forms of music, video, games, and to look for relevant local information… Wireless data — from business-to-business data to multimedia services — now represents more than 25 percent of our revenue. Getting wireless search and advertising done right is critical to continuing to make wireless content relevant to our customers and our business.”

The financial terms of the agreement were not made public, but a November 2008 story in the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft would share ad revenues with Verizon, and would guarantee payments of around $550 to $650 million over the course of the 5 year agreement.

Read the full Verizon/Microsoft press release.


20.01.2009    Tags: , , ,
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