From the Microsoft press release entitled Microsoft to Acquire aQuantive, Inc we learn

REDMOND, Wash. — May 18, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it will acquire aQuantive, Inc., for $66.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $6 billion. This deal expands upon the Company’s previously outlined vision to provide the advertising industry with a world class, Internet-wide advertising platform, as well as a set of tools and services that help its constituents generate the highest possible return on their advertising investments.
The aQuantive acquisition enables Microsoft to strengthen relationships with advertisers, agencies and publishers by enhancing the Company’s world-class advertising platforms and services beyond its current capabilities to serve MSN. The acquisition also provides Microsoft increased depth in building and supporting next generation advertising solutions and environments such as cross media planning, video-on-demand and IPTV.
aQuantive, which has approximately 2600 employees, will continue to operate from its Seattle headquarters as part of Microsoft’s Online Services Business. The combination of Microsoft and aQuantive takes the Company’s advertising platform to the next level in its ability to serve Microsoft’s first party audience assets like MSN, Windows Live, Xbox Live, and Office Live, as well as for third party publishers and applications such as Facebook and Activision game titles.

The first thing I thought when I heard this news is that it is quite telling that Microsoft's biggest acquisition ever is for a Web advertising company. The second is that it seems that Google's overpaying for market share disease ($3.1 billion for DoubleClick and $1.65 billion for YouTube) is contagious. And finally, Microsoft now has offices in downtown Seattle. Oh. Yeah. :)

I worked with some of the Avenue A/Razorfish folks as part of the Social Networking feature in Windows Live Spaces. They seemed like good folks. I'm glad Microsoft has decided to open the pocketbook instead of just rolling over when it comes to buy versus build. Sometimes you really just have to suck it up and buy.

Excerpts from the conference call at TechCrunch.