Microsoft slashes at Bing Maps and Advertising (is Lumia next?)

Satya Nadella wields scalpel in strategic sacrificial sales

Microsoft Bing Maps advertising Uber AOL

Microsoft is selling a chunk of its advertising business to AOL, and some Bing Maps technology to Uber. In both cases, Microsoft employees will be leaving -- totaling as many as 1,300 people.

Ohhh, so that's what he meant when he said he'd "make some tough choices in areas where things are not working." I guess this means that the loss-making Lumia smartphone business is safe -- unless there's another shoe still to drop.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wait for the other shoe to drop. Not to mention: Inventor of SMS texting dies at 63 after an illness...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Updated 8.30am PDT with today's And Finally]

Mike Shields us from Shira Ovide: [You're fired -Ed.]

Microsoft Corp. is stepping back from the advertising business in a big way. ... All of Microsoft’s roughly 1,200 advertising employees...will be getting offer letters to join AOL.

Over the past decade, the company has invested in almost every corner of digital advertising. ... But many of those efforts failed to bear fruit. ... Under the AOL pact, [Bing] will power search results and [search] advertising on AOL. ... Bing is displacing Google Inc.

And executives have publicly said they plan more cost cuts in its hardware businesses.  MORE

OK, simple enough, but Alex Wilhelm tries to make sense of the related news:

Uber will acquire assets from Microsoft Bing. [It] is absorbing data-collection engineers from Microsoft to bolster its own mapping work.

That Microsoft might want to shed some talent that isn’t precisely core to its larger platforms and productivity efforts doesn’t shock. ... My guess:..Microsoft is selling a chunk of its image collection to Uber, and that it will retain licensing rights thereof [and] selling off part of its bucket of intellectual property to Uber.  MORE

And Kia "like the car" Kokalitcheva drives the point home:

Ride-hailing company acquiring some mapping assets [and] around 100 Microsoft employees [who] were responsible for getting image data into Bing, including its 3D, aerial, and street footage.

As for Uber, the acquisition is far from surprising. ... The company recently poached Google’s former head of [Maps] Brian McClendon. ... Uber was also recently in the bidding for Nokia’s mapping business, HERE. It was reportedly willing to pay $3 billion.  MORE

So Jan Dawson gives us a glimpse of the insider ad numbers:

Search advertising has been growing very well indeed, almost reaching the $1 billion per quarter mark last quarter. [But] Display advertising has been heading south for some time now, and was under a quarter of a billion...for each of the last two quarters of 2014.

Search advertising was not only vastly outperforming display advertising in growth terms, but as a percentage of Microsoft’s overall online advertising business.

AOL’s decision to switch from not enormously impactful on Google by itself, but in the context of Firefox’s earlier switch to Yahoo...and the potential for a...switch away from Google by’s [one more] drumbeat of bad news.  MORE

Hmmm. What was that thing Nadella said last week? Todd Bishop diagonally reminds us:

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent a companywide email to employees...laying out a broad agenda for Microsoft’s new fiscal year. [It] amounts to a “State of the Union” message.

"We are in an incredible position to seize new growth this year. We will need to...make some tough choices in areas where things are not working and solve hard problems in ways that drive customer value. I really do believe that we can achieve magical things when we come together as one team and focus."  MORE

Meanwhile, this pseudonymous commentator thinks it bodes ill for Microsoft's Lumia phone business:

While Apple has decided that it’s a better choice to own the mapping tech/platform, MS has decided to go in another direction.

Maybe mapping doesn’t align with their productivity mantra that they are focusing from now on? This seems like another sign of them maybe slowing putting the Windows Phone to bed. If they were serious about mobile, they would want their own maps platform.  MORE

And Finally...
So farewell then, Matti Makkonen.
You invented texting: L8 SMS CRE8R 2G2B4G RIP :-(

[hat tip: /.]

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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