Microsoft is selling its Atlas Advertising Suite to Facebook, the companies confirmed this afternoon.

Financial terms of the purchase weren’t disclosed. The deal makes Facebook a bigger player in online advertising, while salvaging a small portion of Microsoft’s ill-fated acquisition of Seattle-based digital advertising company aQuantive, which included the Atlas tools.

Facebook’s Brian Boland says in a blog post that the company will “improve Atlas’ capabilities by investing in scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile.”

He adds, “We will also work to improve the user interface and functionality with the goal of making Atlas the most effective, intuitive, and powerful ad serving, management and measurement platform in the industry. Ultimately, Atlas’s powerful platform, combined with Nielsen and Datalogix, will help advertisers close the loop and compare their Facebook campaigns to the rest of their ad spend across the web on desktop and mobile.”

The Atlas team will remain in Seattle, where Facebook has an existing engineering office.

Advertising Age reported previously that the purchase price was expected to be between $30 million and $50 million.

Microsoft acquired aQuantive for $6.3 billion in 2007 and last year wrote down the value of the deal by $6.2 billion.

Dave O’Hara, finance chief in Microsoft’s Online Services Division, says in a blog post that the sale reflects the evolution of the online advertising industry since the aQuantive deal.

Microsoft “needed to sharpen our focus and concentrate on identifying, building and executing on the things that are core to our vision for the future as our entire company transitions to a devices and services model,” he writes. “The continued investment in third party ad serving technology like Atlas, while important, is less of a strategic pillar for our business than it once was.”

PreviouslyAfter the writedown: How Microsoft squandered its $6.3B buy of ad giant aQuantive

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  • Guest

    So typical from MS these days. Every abject failure is really a stunning success, we’re just not looking at it right. Why hadn’t MS already made the UI/UX changes that are so obvious to FB? They’ve had five years to make them. And why is something that enables marketers to better determine ROI, and which FB apparently thinks has the potential to be best in class at that, not core to MS’s own plans?

  • Guest

    Kudos to Microsoft. Although this was surely a difficult step to take, shedding assets auxiliary to the company’s core areas of excellence is an essential move. Atlas is one of these ancillary assets. MSNBC is another. By focusing on the areas that are making money at ever-faster rates, like Xbox and Office, Microsoft can realize organic growth simply by applying enough fertilizer (money) to the seeds.

  • fijiaaron

    Agree, whatever loss Microsoft incurred from this venture is already past. By shedding an advertising area they’re not competent to manage, it can only help the company. Who knows…maybe someday Microsoft will pare down to a company that sells operating systems and programming runtimes to OEMs?

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