An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft had high hopes for aQuantive when it paid $6.3 billion to acquire the combo online marketing services vendor/advertising agency in 2007, evidently in response to Google's acquisition of DoubleClick. 'Microsoft is intensely committed to creating a thriving advertising business and to partnering closely with all key constituencies in this industry to help maximize the digital advertising opportunity for all,' declared CEO Steve Ballmer. Yesterday Microsoft wrote off $6.2 billion of its investment in aQuantive, as its online division continues to struggle. MS-watcher Mary Jo Foley points out this is one in a list of bad purchases from Microsoft. On the bright side, Microsoft managed to recover an estimated $500 million three years ago from the deal when it sold off the Razorfish ad agency (not sure why this amount wasn't subtracted from today's writedown)."