The New York Times reports Microsoft is currently in talks to acquire Claria for $500 million. Claria, formerly known as Gator, is known for its software installed on Windows computers to track browsing behavior and serve personalized advertisements based on this acquired user behavior. The article reports MSN is very interested in personalization technologies and the increased advertising revenues they provide and is pursuing companies in the space in an attempt to close the gap on Google.
I am not a big fan of the methods used by Claria to deliver personalized listings. I think MSN could accomplish similar tracking behavior as an option in MSN Messenger or a toolbar before poisoning their evil empire image with Claria.