Shortly after Microsoft made its $44.6 billion unsolicited bid for Yahoo last week, the Silicon Valley Internet mainstay issued a statement...

Share story

Shortly after Microsoft made its $44.6 billion unsolicited bid for Yahoo last week, the Silicon Valley Internet mainstay issued a statement.

The company’s board of directors, Yahoo said, “will evaluate this proposal carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo’s strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders.”

Some hours later, it posted an FAQ on its Web site about the offer. In it, the “carefully and promptly” seemed to have gone somewhere.

“The Yahoo board is undertaking a deliberate review process,” the company said. “They’re going to take time to thoroughly evaluate the proposal in the context of Yahoo’s strategic plans.”

How long is “going to take time”? “A review process like this is fluid, and it can take quite a bit of time,” the company said.

How things can change during the course of a day.

More than search

Microsoft may be girding for battle with Google by bidding for Yahoo. But it’s also making a less obvious effort to snatch at the search giant’s advertising revenue from Internet search.

The strategy was slipped into a progress report sent out last week from Brian McAndrews, the former aQuantive CEO and now head of Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group (newly renamed the “we better prove that spending $44.6 billion on Yahoo is worth it” group).

McAndrews wrote:

“While search has been the main driver of the blistering growth of online advertising in the past, at least partially because of the ‘last ad clicked’ performance measurement standard (pioneered by Atlas in the late 90s), we do not believe this will necessarily be the case in the coming years.

“The current system for tracking ad conversions, while the best available for years, is not optimal because it gives all credit to that last ad seen or clicked — often a search engine — and not any credit to other ad units the consumer may have seen prior that helped influence the user to seek more information about the advertiser.

“Thus, search has gotten more than its share of the credit, but that’s starting to change. We’ll be making significant inroads here in 2008 through our continuing groundbreaking work in the area of ‘conversion attribution,’ a new Atlas technology offering that will do a better job of ‘giving credit where credit is due.’ “

Search, he conceded, “continues to drive a lion’s share of digital advertising budgets.” But Microsoft is clearly hoping to catch Google in search while at the same time spreading credit — and ad spending — to places where it has a lead or at least doesn’t trail so dramatically.

One such area is online display ads — the banners and towers that appear on Web pages.

These are like the billboards of the Internet. Yahoo and Microsoft both had a greater share of this part of the advertising business than Google did, according to comScore stats.

In November 2007, Yahoo had 18.8 percent of this business followed by:

• Fox Interactive Media, 16.3 percent

• Microsoft sites, 6.7

• Time Warner Network, 5.8, 1.5

• eBay, 1.2

• Google sites, 1.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany,

is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or