Microsoft Invests in Mobile Search With MotionBridge Buy

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Microsoft will integrate mobile search capability into its Windows Live program, the company said yesterday after it acquired MotionBridge, a mobile search firm that runs a paid mobile ad program.


Microsoft did not disclose a purchase price for MotionBridge, Paris, which is considered the leading search engine for mobile Internet devices in Europe. MotionBridge also has contracts with telecommunications firms in North America, including Sprint.


"The emerging field of mobile search is strategically important and crucial to delivering on our vision for Windows Live, of providing a seamless and rich information experience for individuals and businesses across devices," Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of MSN Search at Microsoft, said in a statement.


Microsoft and MotionBridge will work on mobile search solutions for Windows Live so mobile users can find relevant search results on the Internet.


Advertising also will be a component of the Windows Live mobile search capability. MotionBridge already operates a mobile sponsored links advertising program that lets advertisers bid on keywords and target their ads to certain mobile devices.


Already, MSN has launched a pilot mobile advertising program in the United States and Japan to "gain market learning about mobile advertising," a Microsoft spokeswoman told DM News. MSN will not release further details on the test.


Microsoft joins the growing list of media and Internet giants that have acquired mobile search firms in the past year. In the most recent notable example, Omnicom Group Inc., which owns BBDO Worldwide and TBWAWorldwide, bought search marketing firm Resolution Media in November.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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