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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Microsoft Hopes for Ad Boom

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, said Wednesday that it aimed to become the country's third-largest online advertiser in the next three years by providing localized services through its Msn.ru portal.

The software firm's approach to achieving its goals is based on a localized deployment of its Windows Live platform, a package of online services and software. Microsoft also eventually plans to provide its Windows Live platform to mobile phone users.

"Our strategy is to take a leading position in Russia's online market," Michal Cupa, director of the company's online services group in Russia, told reporters. "Localizing our offerings will benefit not only Russia but also other CIS countries, where Russian is widely spoken."

But Microsoft may struggle to compete with rival companies, such as Yandex, Mail.ru, Google and Rambler, which have already gained a foothold in the local market.

"Google, which debuted a year and a half ago is still struggling to gain 10 percent of the online market," said Mikhail Chekanov, an Internet analyst at Rambler.

Cupa said Microsoft would face stiff competition but that the market was still largely fragmented. The size of the potential market also makes the challenge worthwhile, he said.

"By 2011, Internet penetration [in Russia] will reach 31 percent with 43.25 million users, while online advertisement market will cap at $1 billion," he said.