Yusuf Mehdi, who has helped run Microsoft’s consumer online business for more than a decade, is moving to the Xbox group, according to an internal memo obtained by Geekwire.
Microsoft has confirmed the move.
In the mid-2000s, Mehdi was the public face of MSN and Microsoft’s other consumer online services, and was a regular fixture at Microsoft’s financial analyst meeting, where he would explain the company’s online strategy and how it was going to someday make money. (It still hasn’t.)
Nearly all of the execs from that era are now gone, but Mehdi was one of the rare survivors, overseeing marketing and business development for Bing and other consumer online services.
Although Microsoft hasn’t commented on it, he probably played a role in the recent three-way online advertising deal between Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo.
A few months ago, Mehdi got involved in a public spat with Google, denying Google’s claim that Bing copied Google search results.
Last year, he chatted with BI’s Henry Blodget about the online group’s awful financial performance, and Blodget cited him as having the “hardest job in the world.”
Not anymore. The Xbox is already a very successful platform and earns money every quarter, so Mehdi will probably find marketing it a lot less challenging than explaining to investors and partners why they should keep believing in Bing and MSN.