This morning, Microsoft announced that they are re-branding their advertising channel from Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising. With this announcement, the company is also signaling that it is going to move more aggressively into this space and expand its portfolio of services.
The company has, for years, offered a wide variety of advertising products across many different mediums including Bing, Windows, LinkedIn, and many other places. The re-branding makes sense and the company says that this is more than a skin-deep refresh.
Rik van der Kooi says in a blog post that “In the next year, we’re introducing more advertising products with built-in AI, more connected to your data and your business.” For Microsoft’s bottom line, this will be a good thing, but for those who were hoping the company would make a privacy pivot, it looks like that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
It’s hard to fault Microsoft either, Google has proven that you can build a massive empire on the back of advertising data and that it also provides a steady stream of cash as well. And considering that Microsoft likes to tout its data and analytical chops, targeted advertising falls right into its lap as a perfect opportunity.
While Microsoft will continue to push down the advertising path, part of me would prefer to see the company solely focus on user privacy and move away from invasive advertising practices. But as long as Microsoft keeps Bing around (LinkedIn too), this dream will likely never materialize.