According to this post, it looks as though the much anticipated MSN PPC solution is about to officially launch in the UK.

Having been involved with some early trials of the new solution, we are eagerly anticipating this launch. Not only is the interface a huge improvement on the previous Overture solution used by msn.co.uk, the platform offers as yet unrivaled opportunities for demographic targeting.

Whilst Google may still enjoy the dominant position in terms of usage, MSN has the benefit of an enormous wealth of accumulated knowledge about the users of MSN products (10m registered users of MSN instant messaging and 8.8m registered users of MSN Hotmail in the UK). Using this data, the MSN Adcenter platform offers some extremely interesting demographic targeting opportunities for the advertisers.

How effective and accurate this profiling proves to be remains to be discovered, but the gauntlet has been thrown down to Google and Microsoft are buoyant about the launch:

“We expect Microsoft adCenter to shake up the U.K. search advertising market–people now have a third option from a major online power.  We’re giving customers improved audience intelligence, increased conversion rates, and great customer service.”
Sharon Baylay, General Manager, Microsoft Online Services Group

The launch was covered in a very interesting article in yesterday’s Sunday Times – well worth a read.