New roles for old Softies, as Microsoft-aQuantive dust settles

New roles for old Softies, as Microsoft-aQuantive dust settles

Summary: As usual, there's more to a Microsoft restructuring than meets the eye. Now that Microsoft's $6 billion purchase of ad powerhouse aQuantive has received the official nod from aQuantive's shareholders, Microsoft is beginning the long process of melding the two companies. A few old Softies are getting new job assignments as part of the process.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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As usual, there's more to a Microsoft restructuring than meets the eye.

Now that Microsoft's $6 billion purchase of ad powerhouse aQuantive has received the official nod from aQuantive's shareholders, Microsoft is beginning the long process of melding the two companies.

Step one, announced on August 13: Create a new division, the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) group, reporting directly to Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's Platforms & Services unit. Brian McAndrews, the CEO of aQuantive, is the new chief of the APS team.

A few other Softies saw their jobs changed as a result of the realignment:

* Yusuf Mehdi, former Chief Advertising Strategist, is out of the ad business all together. Mehdi is now senior vice president, Strategic Partnerships, "where he will be focused on overseeing international mergers, acquisitions and partnerships; managing strategic accounts; and forging relationships with early stage startups and venture capital firms." Microsoft's new Chief Advertising Strategist is Mike Galgon, an aQuantive co-founder.

* Satya Nadella remains Corporate Vice President, Search & Advertising Platform Group. But it's the APS team that now has the responsibility for building and marketing all ad platforms, including adCenter, which had been Nadella's domain. (I've asked Microsoft for further details on where adCenter development resides. Stay tuned. Still no word from Microsoft, but Update: A Microsoft spokesman says adCenter stays with Nadella. Howeer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an update: "Satya Nadella, who oversees Microsoft's Search & Advertising Platform Group, will also be part of McAndrews' Advertiser and and Publisher Solutions Group leadership team, and some Microsoft product planning and product management groups will also join McAndrews' group.") Hmmmm....

* Steve Berkowitz, the former Ask CEO who is still listed as the Senior VP in charge of Microsoft's Online Services Business, In that role, Berkowitz has been responsible for "all of the marketing, sales and business development related to Microsoft's online services, including MSN.com and Windows Live." His new responsibilities, as of August 13, are described as responsibility for "Microsoft’s 'audience' business and for delivering great end-user online services that attract users and deepen customer engagement," specifically the MSN.com portal, Windows Live services and Live Search.

These latest moves and changes follow a number of Windows Live reassignments Microsoft made on July 1, the start of its new fiscal year. At this point, there are fewer and fewer of the old MSN/online services guard still leading Microsoft's Online Services Business. Guess it's time for a fresh start for Microsoft, the advertising company.

Topic: Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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