Microsoft Corp. is buying a Munich, Germany-based
Web comparison shopping site and its parent company for about $486
million in cash.
      The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker says the acquisition of
Greenfield Online Inc., which owns Ciao, a collection of European
price-comparison, shopping and consumer reviews sites in seven
countries and languages, will boost its search presence in Europe.
      The company says the Ciao sites get more than 26 million unique
visitors a month and so far has generated more than 5 million
product reviews.
      Greenfield shareholders will get $17.50 a share, Microsoft said
Friday. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth
quarter of 2008.
      Microsoft lags market leader Google Inc. in search traffic and
Web advertising revenue. In recent months, the company has focused
on improving its sites for searches that lead to shopping and
travel.