Last week, rumors emerged that Microsoft was in talks to buy DoubleClick, one of the pioneers of online advertising. Obviously, DoubleClick is nowhere near as preeminent as it was during the bubble, but the company still does a lot of business, making it attractive to Microsoft, which is desperate to jump start its middling online advertising business. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Google is interested in the company, and has pushed the bidding to north of $2 billion. Google may have a couple of reasons for wanting DoubleClick. First of all, it might simply be a move to shut out Microsoft, and prevent its competitor from getting any momentum in the online advertising space. Google has already showed a willingness to engage in this of aggressive tactic, as part of its motivation for pursuing deals with MySpace and AOL was to prevent Microsoft from getting at them. Even its acquisition of YouTube was done in part to prevent a competitor from snagging it. The other reason the deal might make sense to Google is that it's long been trying to diversify away from the simple text ads that make it the bulk of its money. It's done experiments with other methods, but so far nothing has been particularly successful. DoubleClick, of course, is primarily known for delivering banner ads, which remain quite common. Because DoubleClick is currently under the ownership of a private equity firm, it's hard to say how the bidding stacks up against its actual revenue and earnings, but it's clear that the big inernet giants are willing to battle aggressively for any remaining bits of territory online.
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