Microsoft ditches NBC, launches news site

2012-07-16 08:02
Microsoft has announced that it is parting ways with NBC News. (AFP)

Microsoft has announced that it is parting ways with NBC News. (AFP)

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San Francisco - Software giant Microsoft has parted company with NBC News, pulling out of their joint venture MSNBC to launch its own online news service, the two companies announced on Sunday.

Moving on "allows us to go out and innovate", Bob Visse, general manager of, said, confirming that had begun hiring for a new news operation - as yet unnamed - that will launch later this year.

"If you start thinking about what we're going to be doing in Windows and the Bing app and what we're going to be doing... across multiple platforms, it makes a lot of sense for Microsoft," he said.

"We're talking about using technology and using data to solve information delivery and news delivery in new and innovative ways. It's really difficult for us to do that when we have an exclusive, single-source relationship with one news provider."

Under the joint venture, NBC News had been the sole provider of news for, which will now be free to forge partnerships with other media organisations.


NBC News said it would continue to provide new for and would continue to sell the rebranded's advertising inventory for an undisclosed period to minimise the disruption in ad revenue.

The deal means that NBC effectively buys Microsoft's 50% stake in the MSNBC. No details of the financial arrangement were provided.

Anyone opening up the website is now automatically redirected to

Microsoft's move comes as other major internet companies like Yahoo! and AOL have forged important alliances with news organisations.

Yahoo! teamed up with ABC News towards the end of 2011 to create a digital news powerhouse Yahoo! News, which is the top online news destination in the US with some 80 million unique visitors a month.

Microsoft's move comes just days after it announced it was cutting an unspecified number of jobs in marketing and advertising as part of a move to "align" its operations to key priorities.

The tech giant gave no specific numbers or details, but also announced a write down of $6.2bn in its online operations.

Microsoft, which is soon to release its new Windows 8 operating system, said last week it would take the massive write down related to the 2007 acquisition of aQuantive, a digital advertising firm aimed at helping Microsoft compete against Google and others.

The charge, to be reflected in the company's upcoming earnings report, is required under accounting rules to reflect a lower value or so-called "goodwill impairment".

Microsoft announced earlier this month that its next-generation operating system would be available in October as the software giant strives to stay relevant in a blossoming mobile era centred on tablets and smartphones.

"This will be the biggest product and services launch year in our company's history," Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said at an annual gathering of gadget makers and other partners in the Canadian city of Toronto.

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