MS-less MSNBC: NBC acquires majority control of MSNBC from Microsoft

“NBC Universal announced today that it has reached a deal to acquire majority control of MSNBC, the 24-hour cable television news network, from Microsoft,” The New York Times reports. “The transaction could be the first step in ending a nine-year partnership between the companies, and puts NBC squarely in control of the network, which has lagged behind the Fox News Channel and CNN in the ratings race for years. NBC said it has an option to acquire 100 percent of the cable channel within two years.”

The New York Times reports, Executives at Microsoft have worried that media business is outside their primary mission and may be a black hole. Microsoft sold its stake in Slate, the online magazine, to The Washington Post last year. Without Microsoft, NBC may change MSNBC’s direction as well as its name, analysts have said. Earlier this year, executives at NBC had talked about the prospect of renaming the network. NBC, which is 80 percent owned by General Electric, said today it plans greater integration between MSNBC and NBC News… But the companies said msnbc.com will be unaffected by the transaction and Microsoft and NBC, which is 80 percent owned by General Electric, will continue to equally own the Internet site. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.”

Full article here.
A dumb idea (who could ever really trust MSNBC technology reports or reviews? Or business reports mentioning Microsoft?) finally starts to be rectified. Is this yet another sign that Microsoft’s pervasive influence is waning?

NBC’s first two orders of business should be to change the name by dropping the “MS,” (XNBC?) and offer the option of using QuickTime for watching video on your websites instead of the dreadful Microsoft Media Player.

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23 Comments

  1. Can I play cynic?

    What if this is a move by MS to keep themselves out of anti-trust suites? what if MS wants to have their forthcoming media center become the iPod of digital TV? if they sell MSNBC, they can strike a deal with NBC that might give them an advantage in the offerings that will be available to both MS and Apple as far as primetime shows are concerned. Just a thought.

  2. What about URGE then?
    What kind of strategy is that to move out of the media business two weeks after you made a deal with MTV? But apparently the MTV deal is not really a deal, it’s more of a press release about a link placed in Windows Media Player to some MTV content portal.

    Lets open the bet pool: I bet within 12 months MTV will reconsider and also offer their content on iTunes. How dumb can you be and ignore the biggest portal out there in favor of creating your own (expensive!) solution.

    Urge, as in: The urge to throw my windows pc out of the window.

  3. The MS empire, slowly fracturing and disintegrating.

    If anything more happens to it, anything at all, I swear to you I will get very choked up. Honestly. There could be tears.

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