Microsoft Acquires Rapt, Web Publishing
Never one to settle in and savor the moment, Microsoft has gone out and done it again. They recently bought Rapt Inc., a web publishing vendor out of San Fransisco. This acquisition is just the latest in a number to fill Microsoft's suite of publishing and advertising tools. The move “puts us way ahead of what other offerings are available in the market,” Scott Howe, a general manager in Microsoft’s advertiser and publisher solutions group said, likening Microsoft with Rapt to a jet plane, with rivals, including Google, being a bicycle. Ooh! Burn to Google. But did they really put their money where their mouth is?Apparently Microsoft is (was) one of Rapt's customers. Rapt helped helped increase MSN’s ad revenue 15 percent to 20 percent. What's so special about Rapt? They have a unique combination of technology and strategic advisory services that enable organizations to get the most from their media assets. Their technology helps better price, predict and provision their advertising assets. These guys already have a number of big ticket clients like NBC Universal, CNET Networks, Dow Jones & Company and Reuters. Rapt will become one of the key components of the Atlas Publisher Suite, part of Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, along with other recent acquisitions AdECN, Massive and aQuantive. Microsoft is already planning a new product that is an integrated publisher sales workflow solution. It will be a combination of Rapt's planning capabilities and Atlas' campaign management capabilities. This new solution is expected to be the best offering available among existing industry offerings when combined with Rapt's other products (pricing analytics, inventory management and business intelligence) and Atlas' ad serving platform. Yes, but will it rival Google and DoubleClick? Can anyone, even Microsoft, truly win a battle of advertising over Google? Even display advertising?