Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yusuf Mehdi Gets a Big New Job at MSN–But Still No Digital Head in Sight

Longtime Microsoft exec Yusuf Mehdi (pictured here) is taking over a big part of Microsoft’s online services portfolio–including marketing, online audience business development and product management for MSN and the search properties.

But Microsoft (MSFT) has yet to name an overall digital head for these online properties, which has been promised by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer since the departure of Kevin Johnson in late July.

Mehdi is essentially getting a part of the portfolio of Microsoft SVP Bill Veghte, who will now be primarily focused on Windows and Windows Live business groups.

Mehdi was previously the SVP for strategic partnerships under Johnson.

He is now part of a troika that includes Brian McAndrews, the SVP for the advertiser and publisher solutions group, and Satya Nadella, the SVP who heads engineering for Microsoft’s search, portal and advertising platform group. (Both are pictured here, left to right.)

Who will lead this three-headed beast is still unknown–both Mehdi and McAndrews have been considered the top internal candidates to lead the online properties group, which has been struggling for direction after Microsoft’s failed takeover of Yahoo (YHOO).

Yahoo’s shares have plummeted in recent days, as Wall Street has been hard hit, closing at just below $17 a share today, with a market cap of almost half of what Microsoft’s initial offer was early this year.

To stir things up and catch archrival Google (GOOG), Ballmer has reportedly been trying to recruit a superstar exec from outside the company, including Silicon Valley, to no avail.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik