Mighty Casey gets a base hit?
While trolling through the generally negative media reports on Zune (an entire topic for a future post), I was happy to see this development on the search/advertising front:
This strikes me as a fairly positive development, especially for a group that has been perpetually striking out for most of the past 2 years. I'd like to think it's a major coup in itself, but more importantly foreshadows some positive momentum now that Steve Berkowitz (former CEO of Ask.com) has likely had sufficient time to assess where the team is at, and what they need to do to get back in the game going forward. Let's hope so. Ask.com has been AMAZINGLY successful (growth second only to GOOG, albeit on a very low share) both technically, and wrt selling advertising. So I was personally happy when MSFT acknowledged the obvious - they've been failing miserably - and uncharacteristically went outside to secure someone with demonstrated industry success. Key will be whether Ballmer et al give him the support he needs to make the changes necessary. The track-record with previous outsiders isn't encouraging, but then the stakes have never been higher, nor MSFT's failure to date more apparent. So again, let's hope for a positive outcome.
And since I'm spreading sunshine and goodness for a change, here's someone who thinks MSFT is going to ultimately prevail with Xbox:
Before you get too excited, that's by 2011 and there are numerous others who predict the exact opposite. Personally, after $4-5B of losses to date, I'll settle for just profitable...