Last week, the aQuantive shareholders voted their approval of the company’s acquisition by Microsoft (as well they might since the offer was roughly twice aQuantive’s market cap). Today, Microsoft announced completion of the acquisition and the creation of a new Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group with former aQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews as the newly anointed Microsoft Web Ad Czar.
Microsoft also created the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) Group. This new business group will be responsible for building Microsoft’s monetization engine to serve the advertiser and publisher community. The APS team will assume responsibility for building and marketing all ad platforms, including Atlas, DRIVEpm, MSNDR and Microsoft AdCenter, along with emerging media types such as in-game and mobile ads, and the agency arm Avenue A | Razorfish. The APS group will be run by Brian McAndrews, CEO of aQuantive, who will report directly to Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft’s Platforms & Services Division (PSD).
The leadership team reporting to Johnson responsible for Microsoft’s expanding efforts in advertising and audience includes the following:
• Steve Berkowitz, Online Services Group, is responsible for Microsoft’s “audience” business and for delivering great end-user online services that attract users and deepen customer engagement. These online services include the MSN.com portal, Windows Live™ services and Live Search.
• Brian McAndrews, Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, is responsible for building the monetization engine to serve the advertising and publishing community.
• Satya Nadella, Search & Advertising Platform Group, is focused on building innovative technologies in search and designing the advertising platform to support Microsoft’s business and customer goals.
Mike Galgon, an aQuantive co-founder, has been named chief advertising strategist and will report to McAndrews.
Microsoft’s other recent advertising-related acquisitions, including Massive Inc. and ScreenTonic, will continue to report to Cory Van Arsdale as part of the Emerging Media Group within APS. The newly formed Emerging Media Group will report to Karl Siebrecht, president of Atlas. The Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions sales force will continue to be a part of the Online Services Group.
In a nutshell, McAndrews now runs Microsoft’s Web advertising business with the exception of the old style banner ads sold by the Digital Advertising Solutions salesmen (so beloved of Microsoft’s last Web ad czar) which are part of Berkowitz’s “content” group. Meanwhile, Satya Nadella gets to keeps working on the Live Search plumbing while McAndrews retains control over all of aQuantive’s advanced advertising technology plus picking up MSNDR and adCenter. Now all McAndrews has to do is make it work profitably for Microsoft and he certainly will be Microsoft’s rising executive star:
$6B for aQuantive? Far too much and almost impossible to reconcile financially. On the other hand, $6B for a new (capable) MSFT CEO who can substitute winning strategies and execution for empty bravado, dubious “investments”, and irresponsible spending? Priceless.
There’s more about McAndrews in this profile at Washington CEO.