The 16 year Internet partnership between Microsoft and NBC has ended. NBC News announced that it now has complete control of MSNBC.com after acquiring the other half of the venture from Microsoft. NBC Universal will now rename the site to NBCNews.com but will still create content to MSN.com, which is Microsoft's news network, and in turn, Microsoft will create new content that will still show up on NBCNews.com.
For a short transitional period, MSNBC.com will look exactly like NBCNews.com but will then turn into the address of MSNBC TV. On why this full acquisition by NBC Universal occurred, site president Charlie Tillinghast said,
We've had great success combining TV, desktop, mobile and iTV (Internet TV) where the value is greater than the sum of the parts. That requires both the brand alignment and product integration that is possible only with a wholly owned unit... It'll have a new name and a new URL but everything else will be the same.
We have more on this story after the break.
NBC News President Steve Capus gave us more details on the reasoning behind the move.
NBC News has the most diverse portfolio of offerings of any news organization in the country, period. We were in a joint venture in the area with the biggest growth in the news and information space, and we would like to control our own future.
When asked if there was something wrong with the existing content, he said, "there's nothing wrong with what's there and there's nothing that needs to be fixed." He added that having full ownership in the news portal "plays to our strengths."
The financial outcome of the ending of a legacy, announced on the site's 16th anniversary, was not shared with the press. Sources close to the matter have reported that Microsoft will end up with $300 million in exchange for stake in MSNBC.com, which gets 55.7 million visitors each year. In 1996, Microsoft put in $220 million for half-ownership of MSNBC but then sold almost all control in 2005. When asked to comment on how long the separation would take, NBC Universal said that with everything involved in a process such as this, the transition could take at least two years to complete.