Kara Swisher

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MSN Head Greg Nelson Moves to MicroHoo Integration Role (Yahoo Picks Morrissey)

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Greg Nelson (pictured here), who has had the thankless job of running MSN for Microsoft, has left that position and been given the even more thankless task of running the integration of the complex search and online advertising partnership struck by the software giant and Yahoo.

Microsoft (MSFT) sent out an internal email to staff about the move for the GM of MSN’s Global Media Group, which has already taken place.

MSN U.S. head Scott Moore is now reporting directly to MSN Corporate VP Erik Jorgensen. So will Brett Wayn, who has been working under Nelson on international coordination and who has taken over MSN’s international business on an interim basis.

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Nelson’s counterpart at Yahoo (YHOO), according to sources, will be Mark Morrissey (pictured here), who is currently SVP of Products at the Internet giant.

The pair will have their hands full in what will ultimately be a two-year effort, sources estimate, to try to improve their competitive edge against Google (GOOG) in the search arena.

BoomTown’s title for the relationship: A Couple of White Geek Guys Sitting Around Arguing!

The role includes coordinating a massive shift of engineering talent from Yahoo to Microsoft, making sure ad systems are copacetic and most of all, smoothing over what is likely to be a number of bumps in the partnership.

To help make the frustrations less frustrating, there is a $50 million annual payment to Yahoo by Microsoft for three years, for unspecified “transition and implementation costs.”

At least 400 Yahoo employees will be hired by Microsoft, which will also provide funds for retention packages to keep 150 more Yahoos motivated during the transition.

The “Definitive Agreement” between the Silicon Valley company and the Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, which had been slated to be signed by Oct. 27, 2009, is about to be completed.

Then, as soon as regulatory approvals are in place, it will be showtime for Nelson and Morrissey.


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