Yahoo bid overshadows Microsoft ad conference

Yahoo hangs over Microsoft's ad conference this week, even as officials avoid saying the name.

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Without mentioning the name Yahoo, Microsoft took more than a day to even allude to its deal making with the search company at its yearly advertising conference in Redmond, Washington.

"There’s not a single company I’d say, 'Hey, here's the one company we’d go acquire'," said Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's platform and services group, in response to a question about what types of companies Microsoft might acquire in the advertising market.

Microsoft has done a value chain analysis and decided to invest in research and development and organic growth in some areas, and combine that with assets it has acquired, primarily small companies. "Our focus is bringing together the assets we've created in the organisation, combined with assets we acquire, to create a world-class advertising platform," he said.

A half-day of presentations on Wednesday will finish off the conference, which started on Tuesday.

Advertising executives attend the yearly event for an update on trends and technologies.

While during the conference Microsoft has outlined its existing capabilities and its vision for offering advertising across devices including Xbox, mobile phones and PCs, it hasn’t broached the subject of its ongoing discussions with Yahoo. After recently pulling its bid for Yahoo after four months of negotiations, Microsoft over the weekend said it had re-initiated talks with Yahoo, this time about possibly buying just a piece of the company.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, when he may comment on the company's Cashback offering launched earlier in the day. The service offers consumers a rebate on purchases made via shopping features offered through its Live Search service.

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