Facebook might buy Microsoft’s Atlas Ad platform to compete with Google

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Is Facebook (FB) preparing to compete with Google (GOOG) in online advertising? According to AllThingsD and BusinessInsider’s sources Facebook might be taking steps to build its own advertising network for online websites. AllThingsD says that rather than build a new advertising network from scratch, Facebook could just buy Microsoft’s (MSFT) Atlas Solutions platform “that already delivers billions of ad impressions a day.”

BusinessInsider reports that Facebook will reportedly pay a lower price than the $6 billion that Microsoft paid for aQuantive in 2007 that included Atlas Solutions. It’s estimated that Atlas is worth more than $30 million — a small price to pay to compete with Google’s DoubleClick ad network.

So why is Facebook interested in advertising now? Well, it’s got over 1 billion active users with emails, phone numbers, and unprecedented amounts of “likes.” As BusinessInsider puts itFacebook has so much data it could “tell marketers whether or not a Facebook user saw, on Facebook.com, an ad for a product before going to the store and buying it.”

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