For the last two weeks, Microsoft has been in talks to buy a private Silicon Valley company, a move that underscores just how eager Microsoft is to catch up with Google, the search and advertising giant.
The company that Microsoft has pursued is controversial: Claria, an adware marketer formerly called Gator, and best known for its pop-up ads and software that tracks people visiting Web sites. The Gator adware has frequently been denounced by privacy advocates for its intrusiveness.
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