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After weeks of rumors that Microsoft was in talks to buy DoubleClick, and subsequent rumors that Google had swept in to start its own talks, Google today came away with the company for whopping US$3.1 billion.

This could mean a great deal for Google and its ongoing efforts to diversify its ad offerings beyond paid search, and text ads throughout its AdSense publisher network. Like its offline advertising forays (print newspaper ads, radio, television, etc.), this will diversify its ad mix by appealing to a broader range of advertisers. It could also serve as a better bridge to offline ad media efforts by bringing in this new segment of advertisers to which it can serve display ads online and off.

These will include most notably brand advertisers and display advertisers  an interesting move, given that currently they are mostly “owned” by Yahoo!. In this way it’s a direct shot at Yahoo!, its biggest online competitor. And if nothing else, Google paid a few billion dollars to prevent Microsoft  another formidable competitor whose threat has grown with the introduction of AdCenter  from having DoubleClick.

This is a big announcement and we’ll provide more commentary next week. In the meantime, The New York Times has the scoop.

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