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Merrill Lynch rehires world's greatest hardware guru

Hedge trimmed from under The Loon

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Steve Milunovich - the world's greatest hardware guru - has denied the heart palpitating life of a hedge fund manager and returned to Merrill Lynch, The Register can reveal.

Well, to be fair, it seems the hedge fund world denied Milunovich more than he denied it. Miloonovich set out last August to start a new "digital economy" fund after retiring as Merrill Lynch's top technology analyst. The hedge fund gig didn't take though and "The Loon" went flapping back to Merrill Lynch to become a proprietary trader, according to a Merrill Lynch staffer we dined with last night.

"He was a good evangelist but not a good stock picker," the worker said. "I think people realised that, so things didn't work out."

By "people", we're not, of course, talking about Merrill Lynch because the company has hired Milunovich to do nothing but pick stocks. The company has set up The Loon with a set amount of funds to do with as he pleases.

Milunovich has yet to return our request for comment.

Those outside the hardware world might wonder what all The Loon-acy is about. Well, Milunovich established himself as the hardest working man in the hardware analysis game during a long career at Merrill Lynch. Some of his finer moments include advising Sun Microsystems chairman Scott McNealy on how to run his company via open letters, and backing Intel's Itanium processor as an "industry standard" at a time when the likes of IBM and Dell could only manage to give away a handful - literally - of Itanic servers per quarter.

Perhaps McNealy could have done Milunovich a favour and penned an open letter on how to run a hedge fund.

It's a shame that Merrill Lynch hasn't taken Milunovich back in the hardware guru role. We'll miss his assistants' research notes and his perspective. ®

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