Microsoft, NBC part ways on cable joint venture
Say goodbye to MSNBC and hello to NBCNews.com.
Microsoft is pulling out of the joint venture that owned MSNBC.com, freeing the world's largest software maker to build its own online news service.
The breakup announced late Sunday dissolves the final shreds of a 16-year marriage between Microsoft Corp. and NBC News, which is now owned by Comcast Corp. The relationship began to unwind in 2005 when Microsoft sold its stake in MSNBC's cable TV channel to NBC.
NBC is buying Microsoft's 50 percent interest in the MSNBC website for an undisclosed amount. MSNBC.com will be rebranded as NBCNews.com, and readers who logged into MSNBC.com late Sunday were automatically redirected to NBCNews.com.
The website will move its headquarters from Microsoft's corporate campus in Redmond, Wash., to NBC News' longtime home in New York.
The online divorce stemmed from the two partners' desire to gain greater control over their digital destinies as the Internet becomes an increasingly important part of their businesses.
The inherent constraints of being locked into a joint venture sometimes handcuffed Microsoft and NBC.
Microsoft will create it's own online news service, like its competitors Google and Yahoo have already done. Previously, Microsoft was unable to do this due to the requirement that they carry MSNBC content exclusively.
NBC will now upgrade its web presence and create more online content.
It was an historic and innovative partnership 16 years ago but the practicality of the merger waned over the years as the internet changed dramatically. But don't worry, you will still be able to get your biased news from NBCNews.com.
That is one change that won't happen.