This means big changes to the Ad world. A sea of changes, climate of new… well you get my point. I would have never thought Avenue A/ Razorfish would become the child company of global giant, Microsoft. I remember somewhere around 13 years ago, attending Razorfish’s book launch party of sorts, some swanky Hollywood venue, very dot-com-ish, very posh- posh, lots of martinis and such. I was invited by a friend, fellow designer who knew someone who worked there. Really, that’s how I ended up at this swank party and interestingly enough, my recollection of this event, so long ago, to the extent that I am remembering it says to me, it must have been some event, quite memorable. Back then, I was a mere Senior Designer at my first start up, called BoxTop Interactive. (Boxtop eventually was acquired by iXL and merged with Spin Cycle and Digital Planet in Los Angeles to become iXL’s largest and most creative office).
My impression of Razorfish at the time, of what I perceived as our competition, was impressive. Razorfish was this small autonomous shop, full-blown creativity, high energy, symbol of the bi-coastal “bleeding edge” design shop. (Note: I never use the term “bleeding edge” now, but at the time, that word was so in fashion.) My experience with Razorfish over the years, has always been indirect, having numerous colleagues work there, designers that have worked for me had worked there before working for me and likewise, designers after working for me have gone to Razorfish. My impression of the firm as a whole has changed as the numerous incarnations of the firm has changed from being the leader in new media creativity, to the closing their Los Angeles office with the exception of a small sales team, to being bought by Avenue A to, well, now this, the Microsoft merger deal.
You can imagine the shock when I read this news flash provided by MediaPost in one of their newsletters this morning, delivered fresh to my in inbox. More on the this is posed directly on the MediaPost blog, Just an Online Minute about the merger.
According to MediaPost:
“Microsoft today announced a deal to acquire aQuantive, Madison Avenue’s last big independent digital shop, for $6 billion. The deal comes on the heels of a breathless buying spree that has included Publicis’ $1.3 billion acquisition of Digitas, Google’s $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, and various smaller, but nonetheless important strategic buys that are reshaping the infrastructure of the digital marketing services industry.
Microsoft’s move represents a double-threat as aQuantive is both a huge advertising services company via its Avenue A / Razorfish unit (representing roughly two-thirds of aQuantive’s revenues), as well as a formidable ad-serving business via Atlas. Both represent important strategic diversifications for the software giant, which has tried and failed to gain a dominant position in the online industry beyond the browser market. MSN continues to be an also-ran in both search and publishing, and Xbox, while a wildly successful videogame platform, hasn’t proved to be the Trojan horse Microsoft had expected it to be into online content and advertising services…”
I think I really need to catch my breath and think about this more, but for now, just the facts, ma’am. I recommend you go read the rest of the story….