Microsoft, Viacom Forge Alliance

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NEW YORK Microsoft is trying to position itself as an online ad powerhouse alternative to Google for media companies.

It got a boost in this quest with a wide-ranging deal to sell ad inventory, provide ad technology and distribute content from Viacom properties, including MTV, Comedy Central and BET.

Financial terms of the five-year deal were not disclosed, but the companies estimated its worth at up to $500 million.

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