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Microsoft Shuffles exec lineup at Sidewalk

Two key executives who were overseeing the development of Microsoft Corp.'s Sidewalk have been moved to new jobs only three months before the local online network was scheduled to unveil its first sites in Seattle and New York. Richard Tait, formerly group manager of marketing for Sidewalk, has been named director of business strategy for Interactive Service Media, a newly-named Microsoft unit that handles Internet projects like Sidewalk, Mungo Park and Cinemania. Michael Goff, former editor of Out who was recruited last year as the editor-in-chief of Sidewalk, moves to editorial director of the new unit. John Neilson, VP of the Interactive Service Media unit of Microsoft, said he expects the online unit to make an investment in the "hundreds of millions" and said it is not budgeted to make a profit for several years.

Forrester predicts PC sales to boom

A report from Forrester Research shows that 53% of U.S. homes will have personal computers by the year 2001, as compared to today's 38% penetration rate. The increase is expected to drive consumer PC sales from about 10 million in 1996 to just under 17 million by 2001.

New Jersey Online takes direct route

Advance Publications' New Jersey Online (http://www.njo.

com) launches this month a direct marketing campaign with Action Marketing, Pelham Manor, N.Y., to draw local advertisers onto its site. NJO plans to gather leads among prospective Jersey-area businesses by offering them a free 28-page guide to marketing online through advertising in Advance papers and on the Web.

Peapod takes service to heart of Texas

Interactive grocer Peapod Online Services, based in Evanston, Ill., will launch its online grocery service in Texas markets through a marketing alliance with Randalls Food Markets. Peapod, which launched seven years ago in Chicago, now also operates in San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; and Boston.

Thompson acquires prodigy's classifieds

Thomson Newspapers, Stamford, Conn., acquired Prodigy Services Corp.'s online classifieds division for an undisclosed amount and plans to run the service as a separate business unit of Thomson Newspapers.

Other news:

Tatiana Gau was named VP-integrity assurance, a newly formed unit at America Online that focuses on fraud prevention and other securities issues at the company. Ms. Gau was formerly employed by the Central Intelligence Agency.

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