TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Microsoft Hires CEO of to Head its Web Unit

Microsoft Hires CEO of to Head its Web Unit

Reuters News Wire (
Sat, 22 Apr 2006 12:30:47 -0500

Software giant Microsoft Corp. said on Friday it hired away Steve
Berkowitz, the chief executive of rival Internet company, 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.

Berkowitz is credited in the industry with orchestrating the
turnaround of, 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.

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, 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.

Microsoft's Online Business Group competes against rivals such as
Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit and

Berkowitz will report to Kevin Johnson, co-president of Microsoft's
platforms and services unit, Microsoft said.

He propelled Ask Jeeves into the contemporary Web search market with
the acquisition of Teoma in 2001. He led the redesign of Ask, made the
site easier to use by removing pop-up and banner ads and providing
greater context on searches.

Revenue more than doubled under his leadership.

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.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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