Commentary: Multiple Microsofts May Be Better Than One

Until Nov. 10,, the No. 1 travel site on the Internet, was a little gem hidden inside sprawling Microsoft Corp. But then the site was spun off in an initial public offering that jumped 280% on the first day of trading to produce a market cap of $2 billion. The IPO also freed the 200 employees of Expedia Inc. to be as entrepreneurial as they want--they don't have to ask permission to seek new alliances, expand internationally, or boost the marketing budget. "We've been driving this Ferrari in the suburbs. Now we're taking it out on the highway and seeing what it can do," says Expedia Chief Executive Richard N. Barton.

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