MICROSOFT CREATES GLOBAL ONLINE AD SALES UNIT

Names MSN.com Exec Joanne Bradford to Head It

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Microsoft has created a global sales unit and promoted its U.S. sales chief, Joanne Bradford, to head up that division. The new division signals Microsoft’s seriousness in carrying out a strategy Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced last fall for the company to stake its future on Internet advertising.
Photo: Darryl Estrine
Joanne Bradford, MSN.com’s VP-chief media revenue officer, will head the new global unit.
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“This is a significant push for us,” Ms. Bradford said. “We are committed to building one Microsoft sales force for Microsoft’s products.”

Rival Google
Google, Microsoft’s major rival, made nearly all of its $6.4 billion revenue from online advertising in 2005. Now Microsoft has begun a major move to monetize the Internet. On Nov. 1, it introduced Windows Live, a collection of Web sites offering software tools that let consumers customize their own content. “There is a significant growth opportunity for us as we tap into the growing market for online advertising,” Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer said at the time.

But the software giant’s first step in that direction was thwarted by Google in December when the search engine won the contest to partner with America Online by purchasing a 5% stake in AOL for $1 billion. Microsoft had hoped that AOL’s 75 million users combined with its own 90 million would ease the launch of its $100 million search engine. The global unit and appointment of Ms. Bradford is the first initiative Microsoft has taken since to establish its online marketing presence.

MSN.com chief media revenue officer
Ms. Bradford, who has been MSN.com’s VP-chief media revenue officer since 2001, will remain at MSN.com, Microsoft’s Internet portal, but her position will be company-wide, selling across all the Microsoft properties. She will report to Michael Rawding, corporate VP at MSN. Chris Dobson, sales, trade marketing, MSN International, who had handled sales from the London office, will now report to Ms. Bradford.

The job was offered exclusively to Ms. Bradford earlier this month, but the offer was kept under wraps while Ms. Bradford, who is married with two children, ages 6 and 11, considered the job.

Ms. Bradford will continue to be based from the company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters and her home in San Francisco.

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