Microsoft began displaying advertisements to mobile users of its MSN site in the U.S. on Monday.Paramount Pictures and Jaguar Cars North America are among the first companies to advertise on MSN Mobile in the U.S. Microsoft already displays mobile ads in Belgium, France, Japan, Spain, and the U.K. The technology that presents the ads comes from ScreenTonic, a company that Microsoft acquired earlier this year.
Microsoft trails its biggest competitors in the PC-based online advertising market in bringing ads to mobile users, but its late start may not have any significant effect. "AOL and Yahoo have previously introduced display ads, but the mobile user base is still on the small side compared to the Net, so they're not truly late," said Greg Sterling, an analyst following mobile search as part of a joint venture between Sterling Market Research and Opus Research. "It's not like there's a huge opportunity cost here or revenue lost." Google also supports ads for mobile users.