The Microsoft online business is losing yet another executive on that team - Brad Goldberg, general manager of Live Search.

Microsoft confirmed through its public relations firm that Goldberg is leaving the company to pursue other interests, and that the company wished him well.

Goldberg follows another executive from the Microsoft online business out the door in the wake of the announcement of former Yahoo executive Qi Lu as the new leader of the beleaguered Online Services Group (OSG), which is the division generating the least revenue at Microsoft.

The TechFlash blog first reported Goldberg's move late on Tuesday, saying he was leaving to become chief executive of the online business for venture capital firm Peak6.

Earlier this month Microsoft said Lu will take over as president of OSG on 5 January, but that Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of the Microsoft Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, will transition out of Microsoft in the next several months.

McAndrews was CEO of digital advertising and services firm aQuantive, which Microsoft acquired for $6 billion in 2007.

Microsoft did confirm that Mike Nichols, a Microsoft veteran who was most recently on the strategic partnerships team in OSG and before that worked in search engineering, would replace Goldberg as GM of Live Search effective 1 January.

Prior to his role running the Microsoft Live Search business, Goldberg was a manager on the Windows client team.

While he led the search business, Microsoft initiated key strategies to build out its online advertising strategy to compete with Google, which continues to take the lion's share of the search-driven online advertising market.

Among those initiatives is Live Search Cashback, a way to give consumers discounts for products purchased online if they discover those products using Live Search.

NEXT: Microsoft rebranding Live Search as Kumo

Microsoft rebranding Live Search as Kumo

Goldberg also led the team as it planned a rebranding of Live Search to the name Kumo," something that Microsoft has not confirmed but that is widely expected to take place next year.

Microsoft has filed to trademark the Kumo name in the US for its search engine and other software and services, and also has purchased kumo.com and related domain names.

However, despite significant investment in its search and online business, and a rebranding and revamping of its online services strategy about three years ago, the Microsoft OSG still has made only incremental gains in revenue in fiscal 2008 and early 2009. The Microsoft financial year begins on July 1.

In addition to departures in OSG, Microsoft also confirmed earlier this week that James Hamilton, a key architect of its expanding data-center strategy, has left to become a vice president and distinguished engineer at rival Amazon Web Services.

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