On Monday, Microsoft Corp. began placing advertisements on the U.S. version of the MSN Mobile page, marking the Redmond giant’s foray into the U.S. mobile phone advertising business. While mobile phone internet usage is nowhere near as high as computer-based internet use, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo see mobile advertising as the next big marketing venue, one that some believe may be even more lucrative than the $0 billion (and growing) online advertising market.
Microsoft is kicking off with advertisements from Paramount Pictures, Jaguar, and Bank of America. While this marks Microsoft’s first venture into the U.S. mobile advertising biz, it is something that the company is already familiar with, having sold mobile phone advertisements in Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Belgium already.
Further additions and enhancements to the MSN Mobile site are also planned, including a new astrology channel, as well as the ability to buy movie tickets through MSN Mobile. MSN Mobile has also collaborated with Thumbplay to offer ringtones, wallpapers, games, and video clips for sale. MSN Mobile also links up with Microsoft’s Live services, including Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Hotmail, Live Search, and Windows Live Spaces.
While Google still clearly dominates the online advertising market, Microsoft is hoping to carve out their own piece in the market, expanding out beyond just online advertising into mobile phones and various other platforms, such as their Xbox Live online video game service. Microsoft has a unique advantage over Google and Yahoo in that they have their own game console, so they don’t need to make any deals or partnerships to advertise on that platform. Should Google and Yahoo wish to enter that realm, they would need to negotiate a likely pricey deal with a competing gaming company, such as Sony or Nintendo.