Microsoft gets out of display advertising and mapping

riskSoftware giant Microsoft has decided that it has had enough of the display advertising business and is giving it to AOL to sort out.

Instead Microsoft will focus on its growing search advertising business based around its Bing search engine.

Microsoft, which employs hundreds of people in its display ad business around the world, said those employees would be offered the chance to transfer to AOL and that it was not making any layoffs.

Microsoft’s MSN web portal and Bing, have lost more than $10 billion over the past five years. Chief Executive Satya Nadella has said Bing will turn a profit next fiscal year.

“Today’s news is evidence of Microsoft’s increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services,” said Microsoft in a statement.

Under a 10 year deal struck with AOL, the outfit will sell display ads on MSN, Outlook.com, Xbox, Skype and in some apps in major countries. As part of the deal, Bing will become the search engine behind web searches on AOL starting next year.

Microsoft also struck a multi-year extension to its existing deal with AppNexus, which provides the tech platform for buyers to purchase online ads.

Redmond has also signed over part of its mapping unit to Uber which will see the taxi company take over the part of Microsoft’s mapping unit that works on imagery acquisition and map data processing. Uber will offer jobs to the 100 or so Microsoft employees working in that area.

Uber uses a combination of map services from Google, Apple and Baidu already and apparently has no plans to stop this.

Microsoft will no longer collect mapping imagery itself, but it will continue to work with imagery providers for underlying data on its own maps. Microsoft already gets much of its map data from Finland’s Nokia.