According to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, Time-Warner and Microsoft are closing in on agreement that would create a joint advertising sales force that would sell online ads across both AOL and Microsoft’s MSN. The deal, the report says, which may be concluded as soon as year end, would include using an automated “advertising platform” for brokering online ads for both MSN and AOL services. MSN is developing such a service, called AdCenter, that it is currently testing outside the U.S.
As part of the agreement, AOL would drop Google as its primary provider of Internet search and use Microsoft’s MSN service instead.
The move, the Journal report says, is a reaction to Google, which has created an online service that connects advertising with Internet search results. That has helped Google reach a market valuation of $120 billion, compared to Time Warner’s $88 billion.