IQ News: Microsoft Finds New Role For Marooned Content Czar




Embarking on yet another new era in online media, Microsoft has named a new top executive to head up its advertising division, as Steve Goldberg, group manager of strategy and development for Microsoft’s advertising business unit, departs for the company’s Dublin, Ireland, office. Goldberg will serve as product unit manager for the desktop applications division.
Bob Bejan, who had been executive producer in charge of all of Microsoft’s content endeavors, will take the reins.
The replacement accompanies what appears to be the second restructuring in six months as the software behemoth attempts to solidify its position as a media company.
The advertising business unit, which is responsible for ad sales on all Microsoft properties except for Sidewalk–including MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, Investor, Slate and CarPoint–has been renamed the advertising customer unit. The new setup divides the responsibilities of the old unit, with Bejan heading up ACU and Charlotte Guyman, a longtime Microsoft executive, handling marketing and business development. Both Guyman and Bejan will report directly to Peter Neupert, who is vice president of news and publishing.
The move is just the latest sign of Microsoft’s apparent decision to move away from the creation and commissioning of new content for its proprietary online service, Microsoft Network, although no formal announcement has said so. The unveiling of Start.com, a portal to the Web which will primarily aggregate content, suggests such a strategy shift, as does the reassignment of Bejan.
Microsoft Multimedia Productions, which had signed most of the developers for MSN, is now leaderless and effectively out of operation. Last month, Lara Stein, another top M3P executive, also left the company (IQ News, March 30).
Sources said the collapse of a content strategy made Bejan an obvious candidate to head up ACU, though the software giant is said to have sought an outside candidate for the position. Microsoft executives could not be reached for comment.
Bejan may have a difficult road ahead. His relationship with the agency community has been strained by Microsoft’s controversial insistence on retaining electronic rights to content produced by developers. Now, Bejan will be appealing to that same group for ad dollars.
–with Anya Sacharow