AOL and Uber raid Microsoft for ads and map technology

Microsoft is handing over its display ads business to AOL, and selling some map-generating technology to Uber, as it tries to shift its attention to profit-generating operations.

The move, reported by Reuters on Tuesday, means Microsoft will focus on its growing search advertising business based on its Bing search engine, and displaying maps on its Windows devices rather than generating the maps themselves.

AOL, which is now a unit of Verizon Communications, will sell display ads on MSN, Outlook.com, Xbox, Skype and in some apps in major countries. Bing will also become the search engine on AOL starting next year. Microsoft and Uber did not disclose financial terms of their deal.

There will be no layoffs though, the company has stressed, saying every employee will be given a chance to transfer to AOL. Uber will offer jobs to the 100 or so Microsoft employees working in that area, according to a source familiar with the deal.

In a statement to Reuters, Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella says the company will turn profit next fiscal year. "Today’s news is evidence of Microsoft’s increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services," said Microsoft in a statement.

Microsoft no longer breaks out results for its online operations, chiefly its MSN web portal and Bing, but they have lost more than $10 billion (£6.3bn) over the past five years. Although Microsoft will no longer collect mapping imagery itself, Microsoft said it will continue to work with imagery providers for underlying data on its own maps.