Ask CEO Leaves for MSFT

In the ongoing personnel wars among the major search engines, Steve Berkowitz, the suddenly ershwhile CEO of ASK, is heading to Redmond. Berkowitz is leaving a successful (though relatively small) search engine for a company that is still struggling (vs. Google and Yahoo!) to find its footing and strategy online (though that company happens to be Microsoft). However, the resources and playing field will be much bigger.

From the WSJ (sub. req'd):

Mr. Berkowitz, 47 years old, will replace Microsoft Senior Vice President David Cole, who Microsoft announced last month will take a leave of absence from the company starting in May. Mr. Berkowitz will report to Kevin Johnson co-President of Microsoft's Platforms & Services Division, which houses MSN and the Windows product groups.

In an email to his division Friday, Mr. Johnson touted Mr. Berkowitz's "blend of start-up and high growth business experiences" and "deep functional knowledge of the search," according to a copy of the email seen by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Berkowitz will start at Microsoft on May 8, according to the email . . .

IAC confirmed Berkowitz's departure and said that its president and chief operating officer Doug Lebda will oversee the business until a successor is chosen.

Here’s comScore search market share data for February:

  • Google: 42.3% (up vs. one year ago)
  • Yahoo: 27.6% (down)
  • MSN: 13.5% (down)
  • 6% (up)


The consensus reaction is that this is very positive for Microsoft. More from Charlene Li, Search Engine Journal and Danny Sullivan.



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