Search Marketing

Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft

Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft

Microsoft has announced the hiring of former Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz to head Microsoft’s Online Business Group. The newly formed Microsoft Online Business Group includes MSN.com, MSN AdCenter MSNTV and Windows Live.

Under Berkowitz’s leadership Ask Jeeves rebranded and restructured its search engine into Ask.com, was acquired by IAC, and has repositioned itself into the respected information and usability driven engine that it is today.

In addition Ask.com (or IAC Search & Media) revenue more than tripled while Berkowitz was manning the bridge. Goes to show that less ads can equal higher revenues under the right monetization plan.

According to Microsoft, Berkowitz “will be responsible for running the Online Business group, which includes include MSN.com, MSNTV and MSN Internet Access programming, advertising sales, business development, and marketing for Live Platforms, MSN and Windows Live. This team’s mission is to deliver world-class go to market leadership, that wins customers to our services and builds a world leading advertising business. The responsibility for the monetization of our Live Platform, MSN and Windows Live assets is owned by this team, and includes end-to-end management of the online P&L.”

From the IAC InterActiveCorp profile on Steve Berkowitz
CEO, IAC Search & Media :

As CEO, Steve Berkowitz is responsible for all business related to IAC Search & Media (formerly Ask Jeeves, Inc.). In his previous role as president of Ask.com, Berkowitz is credited with building the management team that orchestrated the turn around of Ask.com, today the second largest pure search site on the Internet. In September 2001, he made the critical decision to acquire Teoma Technologies and integrate their unique approach to Web-wide search into Ask.com. He also oversaw Ask.com’s redesign, which improved ease-of-use and removed pop-ups and banner ads from the site in favor of a more contextually relevant search experience. As a result, user satisfaction has grown steadily since 2002, and the Company has more than tripled its revenue since Berkowitz came on board.

And if you want to know a bit more about Berkowitz than Microsoft and IAC are willing to share, The Mercury News has a rundown of Five Things to Know About Steve Berkowitz:

1. He once worked as a groundskeeper at a cemetery.

2.A believer in public transport, Berkowitz moved Ask to downtown Oakland to be closer to BART.

3. He is a data hog who devours printouts like they are mystery novels.

4. In high school, Berkowitz’s guidance counselor suggested he go to vocational school instead of college. His physics teacher suggested he look into being a cabbie.

5. Berkowitz believes that a bad day of golf is better than a good day at work and that life will give anyone a second chance.

In the spirt of Philipp’s Google Timeline and my Yahoo timeline I thought it would also be quite relevant to illustate Steve’s time at Ask.com with a Before & After comparison:

Ask Jeeves 2000:

 Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft

Ask Jeeves 2002:

 Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft

Ask Jeeves 2004:

 Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft

Ask.com Today (Happy Earth Day!)

 Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft

Wish I had archives of the search results pages because those are where one can really see the positive effect of Steve’s time as CEO at Ask.com / Ask Jeeves.

Microsoft now has a fine and proven leader at the head of their Online Business Group, which in my opinion shold be enough to cause a ripple in Google & Yahoo’s search armor.

Question is, now who’s going to fill Steve’s position at Ask.com/IAC Search?

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz Leaves for Microsoft

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