Microsoft Corp.(NASDAQ: MSFT) said late Thursday that it will acquire online advertising exchange AdECN Inc., in a move it hopes will strengthen its advertising solutions against rivals.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Microsoft said it expects to close the acquisition in the first half of its current fiscal year.

Microsoft's platform and services division president Kevin Johnson said during a conference call with analysts that the company will be integrated into Microsoft's adCenter advertising platform.

“We believe the addition of AdECN to the Microsoft portfolio is a perfect fit and will create more efficiency for the industry by forming a more robust marketplace between advertisers and publishers, aggregating more supply and demand, said Johnson. This is good for the whole advertising industry.

AdECN provides a place where advertisers and Internet sites can buy and sell advertising space that has not been sold by a salesperson or by other traditional means.

The company was founded in 2003, and has roughly 30 employees. It will continue to operate near Santa Barbara, Calif..

Yesterday, Microsoft said that its adCenter is making progress. Through an exclusive deal with social news aggregator Digg, Microsoft will manage text and banner ads on the site in a relationship similar to the one it has with Facebook.