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SGI chief poised to take charge of MS Internet division

Considering how fast the old guard is falling off the perch, it could be a smart career move

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SGI CEO Rick Belluzzo resigned unexpectedly yesterday, and is now being tipped to take charge of Microsoft's Internet operations, including the Microsoft Network. This is one of the poison chalice jobs at Microsoft -- the company has been searching for somebody to run it for nigh on a year, without success until now. SGI has promoted Bob Bishop to Belluzzo's slot, and expressed some surprise at their former leader's decision to jump ship for less than a CEO post. But Belluzzo didn't need to walk, and will have extracted a high price for taking the post that long-serving MS execs have viewed as pretty much a suicide mission. Brad Silverberg, he of the prodigiously long sabbatical, was unsuccessfully solicited for the job earlier this year, and insiders (those who haven't already departed on extended leave, that is) are generally too fat on stock options to consider taking this kind of risk. Belluzzo, however, will slot in at the top level at Microsoft, and considering the growing power vacuum being created as the old guard cashes its chips, if he's successful with the interactive business the sky could be the limit. That's one big 'if', of course, but with Microsoft continuing to throw money at the problem, it may be less intractable than it looks. And of course, there's the possibility of big bucks for Rick as and when Microsoft decides to spin the operation off. ®

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