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April 23, 2006

Microsoft nabs Ask.com CEO to run online businesses

Posted by David Hunter at 9:08 PM ET.

Reuters:

Software giant Microsoft Corp. said on Friday it hired away Steve Berkowitz, the chief executive of rival Internet company Ask.com, to head Microsoft’s own Internet business.

Effective May 8, Berkowitz succeeds David Cole, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, who is set to begin a one-year leave of absence, Microsoft said in a statement. He had outlined his plans in a memo to employees in February.

We mentioned the Cole LOA when it was announced.

Berkowitz was named the senior vice president of Microsoft’s recently formed Online Business Group, which brings together the operations of Microsoft’s MSN Internet business unit with other consumer businesses within Microsoft.

The group includes MSN.com, MSNTV and MSN Internet Access programming, advertising sales, business development, and marketing for Live Platforms, MSN and Windows Live, with responsibility for generating greater advertising sales.

The Online Business Group was created in the March reorganization of Microsoft’s Platform and Services Group and reports to Kevin Johnson.

Berkowitz is credited in the industry with orchestrating the turnaround of Ask.com, the Web search and media business acquired by Barry Diller’s conglomerate, IAC/InterActiveCorp, for $1.85 billion 13 months ago.

Under his leadership, Ask, originally known as Ask Jeeves, enjoyed a revival in its audience and market share gains in the highly competitive Web search business over the past year.

Previously, Berkowitz was president and chief operating officer of technology trade publisher IDG Books, where he built a hit consumer brand by expanding the “Dummies” series of books to cover topics ranging from the Web to pet care. He expanded IDG Books by acquiring publishing brands such as Cliffs Notes, Frommers Travel Guides and Betty Crocker Cookbooks.

All good experience, I’m sure, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him propelling Microsoft to the top of the online bigs.



Filed under Ask.com, Coopetition, Executives, Kevin Johnson, MSN, Microsoft, Office Live, Steve Berkowitz, Windows Live

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One Response to “Microsoft nabs Ask.com CEO to run online businesses”

  1. Bradford to head MSN? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] MSN has lacked an executive since David Cole took a leave of absence in February although technically he was replaced in April by former Ask.com executive Steve Berkowitz who runs the Online Business Group created in March which includes MSN. [...]

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