So is Microsoft’s former sales chief turned platform boss Kevin Johnson moving one of his ad sales lieutenants into the top spot at MSN?
That’s what Rob Guth is reporting in an front-page profile of VP Joanne Bradford that leaves the impression the Microsoft techies just didn’t get advertising sales when she arrived back in 2001.
Ms. Bradford had run afoul of a Microsoft corporate culture that elevated technology above all else. The bias would soon haunt the company as it struggled to compete with Google Inc., a company that rose to prominence through the power of online advertising.
I thought Google was the place that elevated technology above all else and Microsoft was where they paid too much attention to marketing, but maybe I’m getting the spins confused.
The Journal story implies that Microsoft’s weak ad performance will be fixed now that a sales type will be in charge of MSN, but it doesn’t say much aboutt how the group has changed after a series of reorganizations over the past five years. Their eventual effect was to split the old MSN into two pieces — the consumer facing services, and the underlying technology platform.
When you think about that reorganization, it makes a lot of sense to have an ad type running MSN.
The reorganizations had put an engineering type, David Cole, in charge of MSN until he left on sabbatical and possibly retirement in March. Blake Irving ran the MSN technology platform for Cole until March, when the platform until the platform group was made a separate entity under the Windows Live banner.
It sounds like Bradford is taking Cole’s spot, which suggests it will be more ad focused and less oriented toward trying new online consumer technologies — just like MSN itself.
Bradford used to run MSN advertising, then she became Microsoft’s “chief media revenue officer” in charge of digital advertising on all Microsoft properties, including Live, IPTV and Xbox as well as MSN.
Guth said she’s now being promoted to run MSN: “In the latest signal that Microsoft has gotten the online-ad religion, a company official said yesterday that Ms. Bradford, 43 years old, will soon be named to head its MSN online group, which runs a Web site delivering news, video and services such as email and instant messaging.”
I’m curious to know if Bradford will also run Live advertising. If not, who will take her place as chief media revenue officer, global sales and marketing?