It’s hard to know how serious this ever was but whatever, it’s now over, according to ClickZ News, who reports the Microsoft/Claria Deal Dead:
Microsoft has ended its acquisition talks with behavioral targeting firm Claria, ClickZ News has learned from a source close to the discussions. Another Microsoft source later confirmed that report.
A Microsoft staffer, who asked not to be identified, characterized the end of the talks as driven by concerns about a PR fallout that could follow a Claria purchase. That company has, in the past, been associated with spyware.
The source says Microsoft will likely consider buying other companies with behavioral targeting technology, but no one is “officially in scope at this time.”
Certainly Microsoft was losing some major PR ground with the rumour bouncing around, and it didn’t help that folk were noticing some (possibly coincidental) tweaking of its own Antispyware assessments of Claria/Gator threats.