Microsoft and NBC News have finalized their online news divorce, with Microsoft receiving roughly $300 million for its 50 percent share in the site, according to The New York Times' Brian Stelter. He adds that not all of that will be paid by NBC's parent company Comcast because the price tag includes "the joint venture’s past profits."
So farewell MSNBC.com and hello NBCNews.com. As we pointed out last week, ever since NBC acquired most of the ownership of the MSNBC television operations, and rebranded it as a liberal counterweight to Fox News, it's straight-news web operation at MSNBC.com in Redmond, Wash., on the defensive about political bias. Now the site will operate under the NBC News label, and an editor's note stressed it will continue to do straight news gathering.
But that may be just a side-benefit of unwinding the deal between NBC and Microsoft. Microsoft's MSN network, according to the Associated Press's Michael Liedtke, had been looking to build its own news service. Liedtke writes, "Microsoft is preparing to launch its own news service this fall. Although he declined to provide many details about the operation, Visse said the news staff will be about the same size as the roughly 100 people who created original content for the MSNBC.com." The present MSNBC.com news operation will be moving off Microsoft's Redmond campus while NBC seeks other office space in the area.