Microsoft Sells msnbc.com Stake, Will Launch News Source

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Microsoft is no longer an owner of news website MSNBC.com. On Friday, NBC News acquired the remaining stake in the domain after Microsoft sold its ownership to NBCUniversal for a reported $300 million.

NBC then quickly moved to rebrand the website as “NBCNews.com,” broadening the website’s appeal, moving it further away from brand recognition with news network MSNBC.

“Today we’re taking on a new name — NBCNews.com. While our name is changing, our commitment is not. In fact, in the weeks and months ahead, we’ll be bringing you more of what you love today, and NBCNews.com will stay true to its mandate of delivering the news you need with the innovative spirit you’ve come to expect across all of our digital platforms,” commented NBCNews.com Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Sizemore in a letter posted via the website.

The website initially launched in 1996 following a partnership between Microsoft and NBC. The Windows-maker initially also had a stake in the corresponding television network. However, that was dissolved in 2005 when a similar acquisition saw NBC take full ownership of the network.

NBC signaled that it would work to launch a new web presence for the MSNBC TV network by sometime next year. That website could take shape under the recently removed MSNBC.com moniker. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft had not been happy with contract stipulations forcing it to feature MSNBC.com material on its various web presences.

All this follows a lot of brand confusion between the network, corresponding websites and the companies. NBC and Microsoft had maintained MSNBC.com as a straight-forward news source, mostly free of much opinion-related content. That was highly different than what goes on at the MSNBC television network where viewers can regularly tune in for a variety of left-leaning opinion programming. The news story from the Wall Street Journal also signaled that Microsoft would work to launch its own full news source in the near future.

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