Amid the optimism of announcing a fresh corporate mission statement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also dropped in a rather ominous phrase in the email that he sent to all company employees last week, referring to the need to "make some tough choices in areas where things are not working".
It seems that the axe is already starting to fall on certain areas of Microsoft's operations. Earlier today, the company announced that it is selling some of its mapping technology to Uber, and transferring 100 staff to the global ride service. As part of that move, Microsoft has also said that it will no longer collect its own mapping data for Bing Maps.
And now, even more changes are being made at Microsoft. The company announced today that it has struck a deal under which AOL will take charge of its advertising sales business, including display, mobile and video ads. Under the deal, AOL will handle ad sales for various Microsoft properties in the US and eight other markets - and, significantly, AOL will ditch Google as its search provider, signing up instead to Bing search for the next decade.
It's believed - but not yet confirmed - that all 1,200 or so of the employees across Microsoft's advertising operations will be offered jobs at AOL.
Microsoft's Rik ver der Kooi, corporate vice president of its ad business, told The Wall Street Journal:
We believe in the advertising model, and we care deeply about those services that are monetized through ads. But if you look at trends in the industry, it makes complete sense for us to line up with AOL."
MS is also 'expanding' its partnership with AppNexus. In a blog post today, the company said:
With our expanded AppNexus partnership, they will become our exclusive programmatic technology and sales partner in 10 markets (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland). Business in these markets will transfer over the coming months, subject to compliance with local law.
The move will give AOL plenty of new platforms to push ads to, including Microsoft apps, Outlook.com, Skype and Xbox, among others. For Microsoft, it's one more example of the company trimming away products and services that don't fit in with its new, leaner corporate vision.