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Playing catch-up with Google

newsmaker At Ask.com, Steve Berkowitz didn’t have enough resources to take on Google. Now, at Microsoft, he has plenty of money, but still has a lot of work to do.

Berkowitz joined Microsoft in April, where he was given the task of helping build a cohesive ad-funded business around all of Microsoft’s disparate online businesses, from MSN to Windows Live.

“I believe Microsoft can change the world,” Berkowitz, senior vice president in the company’s online services group, said in a recent interview. “I don’t believe I can change Microsoft. I believe I can help it evolve.

In his first sit-down interview with CNET News.com, Berkowitz talked about the challenges for Microsoft, the future of Internet advertising and what it’s like being an outsider in Redmond.

We’re once again hearing about a lot of advertising-based businesses. Do you have a sense of what good ones are?
Berkowitz: I would say that a good advertising business will be one that really starts to bring relevance. Today, the delivery of the information–the advertising–even within search is still not anywhere near as good as it can be. So, to me, it really is going to be where relevance takes hold.
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Playing catch-up

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