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Microsoft's Chase to step down at MSN

Brad Chase, a longtime Microsoft executive who helped the software giant make an imprint on the Web, is leaving his post as head of the company's MSN Internet portal.

    Brad Chase, a longtime Microsoft executive who helped the software giant make an imprint on the Web, is stepping down as head of the company's Internet portal, Microsoft confirmed Tuesday.

    Chase is leaving his post as senior vice president running Miscrosoft's MSN Internet business, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer disclosed in an internal e-mail sent to Microsoft employees last week, according to a company representative.

    Although Chase is stepping down from his position, he will remain at the company. The exact role he will play at Microsoft is yet to be determined. The representative said Chase is "looking for new challenges."

    Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft vice president, will assume most of Chase's responsibilities, the representative confirmed.

    A number of high-ranking executives have either departed Microsoft or moved to lower-profile assignments in the past year.

    Bob Herbold, Microsoft's former chief operating officer, retired in February. In January, Jim Ewel, a 12-year Microsoft employee who most recently handled product marketing of Windows 2000 Server, left the company.

    Other top executives who left in the past year include Tod Neilsen, vice president of developer marketing; Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold; Pete Higgins, former Interactive Media Group chief; and Windows Group Vice President Paul Maritz.

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    Chase, a 13-year Microsoft veteran, oversaw the launch of the company's Windows 95 operating system as well as its Internet Explorer Web browser, which was created to challenge the supremacy of Netscape Communications' Navigator browser.

    Chase's departure from MSN comes after a management restructuring last week. In that announcement, Microsoft appointed Mehdi to run the MSN group while appointing other executives to run aspects surrounding the company's .Net strategy. Microsoft.Net is the company's initiative to create products tying together software and Internet services.

    Despite Mehdi's appointment, Chase was not mentioned in the announcement.

    News.com's Jim Hu contributed to this report.