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Thursday, June 1, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ex-MSN portal chief starts online music service

Seattle Times technology columnist

Former MSN portal boss Hadi Partovi and his brother, Ali Partovi, are starting an online music service tentatively called iJam. In an announcement Wednesday yesterday to friends, they called the Seattle-based venture "a new consumer service for the iPod/MySpace generation."

Among the key players with Microsoft backgrounds are software architect Nat Brown and Steve Rider, who worked with Partovi to build the Start.com portal now branded as Live.com. Also crossing the lake was Eugene Zarakhovsky from MSN Entertainment.

The new company builds upon services previously developed by Ali Partovi, including garageband.com, gcast.com and gpal services. Before that, he co-founded Web site promotion company LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft in 1998.

Hadi Partovi was involved in Microsoft's browser war with Netscape Communications in the 1990s, then left in 1999 to start Tellme Networks in San Francisco. He came back to MSN in 2002, then resigned in October to start his own venture.

Despite its Microsoft pedigree, the company is recruiting engineers with Macintosh and Flash expertise.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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