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Taboola Deal Breathes Life Into Microsoft’s MSN

January 13, 2016, 8:45 PM UTC

Whoever takes over at Microsoft

The considerable time Microsoft is taking to choose its next leader reflects the challenges he or she will face. Simply put, the new CEO must find a way to make up for the decade or so the Redmond, Wash.-based company lost to Google and Apple. A few areas of focus? Smartphones, tablets, web search technology, cloud computing, wearable technology, and online advertising. Editor's note: A previous version of this slide incorrectly stated that Microsoft was based in Redwood, Calif. The company is based in Redmond, Wash.
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MSN, Microsoft’s web portal and collection of services and apps, said on Tuesday it has signed a deal with Taboola, a nine-year-old company best known for supplying content recommendations tools for publishers.

No terms were disclosed, but the companies said that Taboola’s integration into MSN’s websites will reach a total of 50 markets, and be available in 24 languages. Taboola’s content recommendation services were already integrated into MSN sites in 28 market and nine languages, according to the announcement.

Taboola’s recommendations from publishers and advertisers will appear on the homepage, as well as in individual articles, according to Business Insider. MSN’s editors will also start using Taboola’s tool for newsrooms, which lets them live-test different content, designs, and placement to different sets of users to see which variations perform best.

The deal is one of the largest for Taboola, and will likely help it expand its reach, which in turn only strengthens its attractiveness to future partners and customers. According to a report from comScore Media Metrix in November, MSN reaches more than 397 million unique visitors every month, Microsoft (MSFT) said.

This deal is also in line with the MSN’s shift in strategy since 2014, as Business Insider notes. Previously staffed with news reporters who produced original content, but following a MSN-wide redesign, which included newly-rebranded apps, it shifted to curating news and content from other major media companies. It has outsourced other functions to outside partners as well.