As expected, former SGI CEO Richard Belluzzo has joined Microsoft Corporation and will take over its Consumer and Commerce Group. Microsoft has been actively trying to consolidate its Internet services and products and will likely charge Belluzzo with determining which of these to keep and which to drop or sell off. Currently, the group oversees such products as WebTV and the Microsoft Network (MSN). Indeed, Microsoft president Steve Ballmer says the company has perhaps overstepped its bounds in recent years.
CarPoint (the MSN-branded online car service) has a role in the strategy we've described. But in terms of future investments and what is the central thing we do, I don't think helping buy cars will be a fundamental role for Microsoft,'' he said. "Our goal is to deliver a very rich powerful consumer experience on the Web."
Belluzzo will report directly to Ballmer in his new job at Microsoft. Brad Chase and Jon DeVaan, who were heading the group since the reorganization in March, will report to Belluzzo. His primary goal: Make Microsoft the number one Internet destination. Currently, the software giant lags behind America Online (AOL) and Yahoo.
"We've got a lot of good momentum, but we're not number one or number two, " Ballmer said. "Our focus is on TV in addition to the PC as a place of core interactively on the Internet."
Microsoft's MSN Web site is currently the number three destination on the Web, following AOL and Yahoo. Microsoft's Expedia, HotMail, and MSNBC Web sites are all number one in their particular categories.
Like the recent pre-announcement of a Web-based Office, Ballmer's comments about Microsoft's Internet plans were deliberately vague, however. Belluzzo is expected to come up with his own recommendations after he's had time to get settled in Redmond.
"I am excited to be part of the momentum that Brad and Jon and their group have created," Belluzzo said. "The opportunity to work with such great people, and the fact that we have the chance to have a huge impact on the lives of millions of people, is both exciting and challenging.