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Microsoft Makes Push for Online Ads

Microsoft is making a global push to sell targeted online advertisements using data gathered from users of its Hotmail e-mail service, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, is aiming to grab a bigger slice of the online advertising market for its msn.com news page and other Microsoft-owned sites. It currently lags behind Google and Yahoo .

The company has begun combining personal data from the 263 million users of its free Hotmail e-mail service with information gained from monitoring their searches, the paper said.

For advertisers, combining these two sets of information could allow them to better target the ads they send to people's computers, and avoid wasting people's time with irrelevant ads, the paper cited Chris Dobson, Microsoft's global head of advertising sales, as saying. Microsoft is using the information to sell ad space on Microsoft Web pages, including msn.com and Hotmail, the paper said.

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