Microsoft realigns MSN division

Microsoft Corp. is altering the structure of its MSN Internet services and content division by focusing it on two areas: communications offerings and information offerings.

Microsoft expects the move will improve the development of its MSN business by streamlining operations and making the decision-making process at the division faster and more effective, a spokeswoman for Microsoft said Wednesday. Formed in 1995, the MSN division achieved operating profitability for the first time in Microsoft's recently completed first quarter, ended Sept. 30.

The group focused on communications is called the Communication Services and Subscription Platform and will be headed by Blake Irving. It will be in charge of the subscription-based MSN online service, the Hotmail e-mail service and the instant messaging MSN Messenger service. This group generates revenue mainly from subscription fees to services such as the MSN online service or to premium e-mail options to Hotmail, whose basic service is free.

The group focused on information, called Information Services & Merchant Platform, will take care of the publicly-available MSN portal, the MSN Internet search capabilities and the MSN e-commerce channels. Yusuf Mehdi will lead this group, which generates revenue mostly from advertising sales.

These two main groups will be supported by three divisions: global sales and marketing, operations and strategy and finance.

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