Through the deal, MSN will link to CVS.com on all of its Web sites, including the MSN Health Channel, Hotmail's Pharmacy Quicklink and WomenCentral's health section. In addition, CVS.com ads will appear across MSN. Terms of the advertising deal were not specified.
"By signing this deal with Microsoft, it lets everybody know that we are online as well as offline," said CVS.com spokesman Tim Hohl. "The fact that we were a start-up that is now wholly owned by a large brick-and-mortar drugstore chain gives us a huge advantage in this part of e-commerce."
Since its acquisition of Soma.com last May, drugstore chain CVS has plunged into the heated battle among Net pharmacies to gain market share online. One of the key methods for driving customers has been to form partnerships with popular health sites or large portals.
Last month, CVS and Healtheon/WebMD announced a five-year agreement under which CVS's online pharmacy is the only drugstore promoted on WebMD, a health-focused information site for doctors and consumers.
CVS.com rival Drugstore.com also said last month that it had agreed to acquire Beauty.com in a stock deal worth $42 million. The acquisition gave Drugstore.com access to the $6.2 billion beauty market.
CVS, with some 4,200 stores in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest, opened its online drugstore last August after acquiring Soma.com. It changed the site's name to CVS.com and immediately started to align itself with large Net companies. In July, CVS.com signed a marketing agreement with Yahoo.