Microsoft Plans to Sell Search Ads of Its Own - New York Times: "The Microsoft Corporation will unveil today its own system for selling Web advertising as it struggles to compete with Google and Yahoo in the expanding Web search business. The system, to be used by MSN, is meant to improve on those of Microsoft's rivals by allowing marketers to aim ads on Web search pages to users based on their sex, age or location.
The move is part of Microsoft's broad response to the threat from Google, which is using its powerful advertising sales network to support an expanding range of free software products and Internet services. Last week, Microsoft announced a broad reorganization that placed MSN in the same group as its Windows operating system, indicating that it saw software delivered over the Internet - and possibly paid for through advertising - as central to its future. "
Recommended reading in this context: The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture