Continuing their aggressive push into the online advertising market, Microsoft today announced that it had acquired the online ad exchange AdECN. The deal was first announced by Kevin Johnson, the president of Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division, at Microsoft's Financial Analysts Day. "With this AdECN acquisition, it complements the work we've done with adCenter," said Johnson (via Todd Bishop's blog). "It extends the work that aQuantive brings. And it now enables us to move forward with all of the core components that we need to enable this ad platform."

AdECN, which is based in Santa Barbara, California, is a "real-time, auction-based, neutral exchange for buying and selling online display advertising." The company operates tools for ad buyers and sellers that are very similar to the Right Media Exchange, which Yahoo! purchased in April. AdECN is an open market that allows advertisers to bid in real-time on ad space on publisher websites.

Microsoft adds AdECN to aQuantive among its blockbuster acquisitions this year in the online display advertising marketplace. Microsoft hopes that these purchases, along with adCenter -- its contextual pay per click text advertisement service -- will help it to take on Google, which purchased display ad giant DoubleClick earlier this year (though faces US Federal Trade Commission scrutiny).

Microsoft has not disclosed the financial terms of the deal.