Last year, Microsoft added a record 11,200 employees last year, according the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Many of those employees were gained through acquisitions that are part of Microsoft's attempt to make a land grab in the search market.
The acquisition of aQuantive added 2,600 employees to Microsoft's payroll. Travel search site Farecast and enterprise search company Fast Search & Transfer out of Norway were also acquired by Microsoft in the past year.
But don't expect any more internet acquisitions anytime soon. Microsoft is ruling out buying up major internet real estate, such as Facebook, in the wake of its failed attempt to acquire Yahoo, according to the Financial Times. Steve Ballmer and Kevin Johnson told FT that search is a part of the larger goal of generating revenue from advertising.
Now it seems those goals will be pursued internally. Microsoft just announced plans to build a search technology center in Europe. And recently, they rolled out the Cashback program, which rewards searchers who conduct online shopping at Live Search.
Microsoft did make an ad-related acquisition recently, but it was for television ad solutions provider Navic Networks. Still, this looks like an attempt to catch Google, which released opened up its Television Ads in Adwords up to everyone last month after being in private beta since last summer.