Ballmer builds inner circle at Microsoft

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has moved to increase his level of comfort by handing over the job of president to Rick Belluzzo, who also replaces Bob Herbold as COO. A former head of Silicon Graphics, Belluzzo joined Microsoft in 1999 as vice president of the personal services and devices group. In that role he managed the operations of the MSN.com Web portal, which is being taken as a guide to his ability to oversee Microsoft's transition to its .NET business strategy.

In his new job Belluzzo will lead Microsoft's business strategy and direct business operations, sales, marketing and business development, as well as non-PC businesses.

Herbold is retiring after six years at Microsoft, although he has said he will stay on in a part-time role to liaise with industry, government and customers.

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