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Microsoft hires CEO, WSJ reports

Microsoft has hired Chief Executive Steve Berkowitz to be vice president in charge of MSN, which includes the MSN search and Internet portal sites, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday (subscription required).

"Microsoft is putting an outsider in charge of one of its highest profile and critical businesses," at a time when the software giant is restructuring to better compete with search giant Google and its ever-growing number of Web-based services, the article says.

Berkowitz will replace Microsoft Senior Vice President David Cole, who the company said in February was taking a leave of absence.

Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp acquired Ask Jeeves last year for $1.85 billion.