From the New York Times comes a report that Microsoft is negotiating to buy Claria:
For the last two weeks, Microsoft has been in talks to buy a private Silicon Valley company, a move that underscores just how eager Microsoft is to catch up with Google, the search and advertising giant.
The company that Microsoft has pursued is controversial: Claria, an adware marketer formerly called Gator, and best known for its pop-up ads and software that tracks people visiting Web sites. The Gator adware has frequently been denounced by privacy advocates for its intrusiveness.
The offer price on the table as recently as yesterday was $500 million, according to people who have been briefed on the talks. But a person close to Microsoft said last night that the negotiations were on the verge of breaking off.
One person briefed on the deal said there was opposition within Microsoft to the acquisition.
PC Pitstop believes that Gator products can degrade the quality of a user’s PC experience, and the applications themselves are not a good value. This belief is based on our hands-on use of Gator products, surveys of users that have Gator on their systems, and visitor feedback from our forums. Most Gator “users” are not aware of what Gator is doing on their PC behind the scenes, and even many advertisers are not aware their ads are being shown by Gator’s ad network through third-party contracts or Gator’s connection with Overture.
What is Microsoft thinking? This deal would be a P.R. disaster. The only way it makes sense is if Microsoft buys the company, fires everyone involved with it, has their buildings exorcised, and rewrites every line of code in their product.
Update: The deal’s dead. But it was still a stupid idea. Really, really stupid.