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MSN chief leaves as consumer platform efforts downscaled

Muglia and Allchin pick up juicy bits

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Veteran Microsoft exec Brad Chase has moved into the Redmond out tray, after having his job more or less shot out from under him in last week's reorganisation. Chase, who once upon a time was general manager of MS-DOS, has resigned from his post as VP at MSN, is on holiday, and is reportedly talking to Steve Ballmer about other positions in the company.

Which might pan out, or it might not. Last week's reorg created the Personal.NET team, whose goal is to produce a premium subscription service that will include some elements from MSN. Personal.NET is however being run by by Bob Muglia, who's been supremo of the back end server aspects of .NET, and is now heading the Personal Services Group. Chase's job "changed significantly" because of the reorg; those significant changes included the loss of online subscription versions of Money and Encarta, the move of MSN Explorer development to Jim Allchin's Windows group, and the loss of the NetDocs team to the Office group.

Basically, it's the final demise of any kind of consumer platform efforts within the consumer group, and the consolidation of app and platform type stuff into the old - albeit strangely changed - fiefdoms. You might recall that about 18 months ago Jim Allchin successfully maimed efforts to make WinME a radical (well, radical for 9x) development outside of his orbit, and you could now observe that the alleged UI technology that went into consumer around that time has come back under his wing.

The loss of NetDocs to Office reinforces the latter as a big, blobby, platform-type app and mugs the independent subscription effort (resulting in NetDocs boss Brian MacDonald falling on his sword too). These moves don't mean the end of consumer and MSN as separate forces within Microsoft, but they do place them much more as content and service operations whose delivery mechanisms are run from elsewhere. Where they belong, as winners Muglia and Allchin might say. ®

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