The Buzz: June 30, 2003

Microsoft last week announced the hiring of Peter Cullen, of the Royal Bank of Canada, to fill the top privacy post at the company.

Microsoft Shakes Up Executive Ranks

Microsoft last week announced the hiring of Peter Cullen, of the Royal Bank of Canada, to fill the top privacy post at the company. The job was vacant since Richard Purcell left earlier this year.

Privacy plays a key role in how Microsoft develops its applications and policies. Cullen, who will begin work July 14, will report to Scott Charney, now chief Trustworthy Computing strategist. While at the Royal Bank of Canada, Cullen helped establish the banks Corporate Privacy Group, the first of its kind at a Canadian bank.

Also last week, Microsoft reorganized its platforms group, combining the Developer and Platform Evangelism Business, the Windows Server System Business, and the Enterprise Storage and Management Business under the existing Servers and Tools Profit & Loss center, which is now headed by Senior Vice President Eric Rudder.

Paul Flessner, who has been senior vice president of the Server Platform Division and had led the Servers and Tools P & L, will "return to his roots of engineering management and will lead the Exchange, SQL and eBusiness divisions, while reporting to Rudder," a Microsoft spokesman said.

Ebay to Partner With DoubleClick

Online auction company eBay last week agreed to use DoubleClick marketing tools and ad-serving technology on its site, while eBay also moved to expand its realm.

DoubleClick officials said in a statement eBay will use its services to improve the performance of eBays online advertising and allow eBay sellers to reach targeted buyers through keyword advertising.

Earlier this month, eBay agreed to buy FairMarket for $4.5 million in cash. eBay will acquire FairMarkets technology and business assets, said officials. FairMarket provides technology for auctions as well as tools for selling excess inventory.

Sun Buys Developer Pixo

Sun Microsystems last week announced plans to buy wireless software server company Pixo in an all-cash transaction that is due to close July 1.

Pixo makes software that helps service providers manage the billing and delivery of Java applications to wireless devices. Officials at Sun said the move will help to increase the adoption of its Java programming language on cell phones.

Pixos team will report to Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Suns software business, officials said.

Seventeen Companies Form Standards Group

Seventeen leading computer and electronics manufacturers last week agreed to back home networking standards that will make it easier for consumers to trade digital music and pictures.

The Digital Home Working Group includes Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Gateway, Nokia, Sony, Matsushita, Sharp, Samsung Electronics, Thomson and Philips.

Officials said they are seeking to create a "seamless environment" for home networkers, but users will have to wait: The first compatible products are due in the second half of next year. The group has agreed to make Wi-Fi the wireless standard for the network.

Also last week, the Recording Industry Association of America launched an effort to prosecute individuals who it finds are illegally sharing copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks. RIAA officials in a statement said the group expects to file "thousands" of lawsuits.