Mark Penn, Microsoft's Master Of Dark Political Arts, Gets A Boost In The Company's New Reorg

Mark PennMicrosoft strategist Mark Penn

In Microsoft’s new corporate reorganization, a newly centralized Marketing Group will be led by Windows CMO/CFO Tami Reller and … Mark Penn, who only joined the company last August.

Penn came from Washington, D.C., where he was the pollster in President Clinton’s administration who identified “soccer mums” and other niche voter groups as Democratic targets. He’s known as “a lightning rod” and “a longtime political operative known for his brusque personality and scorched-earth tactics,” according to The New York Times.

Since August, Penn has been leading Microsoft’s anti-Google efforts, including its “Don’t Get Scroogled!” campaign, which suggests that Google is using your personal data for sneaky advertising purposes.

Here’s CEO Steve Ballmer’s announcement as it relates to marketing and advertising:

Marketing Group. Tami Reller will lead all marketing with the field relationship as is today. Mark Penn will take a broad view of marketing strategy and will lead with Tami the newly centralized advertising and media functions. 

Note that the announcement does not describe what Reller and Penn will do with Microsoft’s Advertising business. The company has appeared to be gradually extricating itself from ad sales, having sold its Atlas ad server to Facebook and written down the value of its aQuantive acquisition, and eliminated almost all its mobile ad division. Some have suggested ad sales could be outsourced to Facebook or Yahoo. Neither Reller nor Penn have ad sales backgrounds.

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