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Belluzzo To Run Microsoft Net Unit

September 2, 1999

SEATTLE (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. named Richard Belluzzo, the former head of Silicon Graphics Inc., to lead its Internet business in a battle against rival behemoths such as America Online Inc. and Yahoo!

Belluzzo has been enlisted ``to help step our online business up to the next level,″ Microsoft President Steve Ballmer said in a telephone interview from the company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters.

Microsoft has had mixed success competing on the Internet. Its Web investments include sites devoted to travel and personal finance, but the company has backed off from some ventures. Earlier this year it sold its city arts and entertainment guide, Sidewalk, to Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch for $240 million.

Belluzzo’s appointment Thursday by Microsoft confirms reports that followed Belluzzo’s sudden resignation from Silicon Graphics last week. Belluzzo, 45, became chief executive of Silicon Graphics early last year and led its transformation from a maker of powerful computers that use proprietary technology to ones that run on Microsoft Windows operating program and Intel microprocessor chips.

Belluzzo also is a 22-year veteran of Hewlett-Packard Corp., where he rose to the No. 2 job before leaving for Silicon Graphics.

He now will oversee Microsoft’s Consumer and Commerce Group. Brad Chase and Jon DeVaan, who had jointly headed the unit since its formation in March, will report to him.

The Internet ``is still in its infancy. There are tremendous opportunities to build on that over the next several years,″ Belluzzo said.

Microsoft’s Consumer and Commerce Group was formed as part of a reorganization announced in March in response to competitive pressure and the need to exploit Internet opportunities. The unit includes the Microsoft Network, the company’s Internet service.

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