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Microsoft sells out of MSNBC.com, plans to open own news pipe

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Microsoft’s sold its stake in the 16-year online news venture it shared with US TV giant NBC.

NBC has bought out Microsoft’s half of MSNBC.com with the partnership dissolved so both companies can update their online offerings.

Financial terms have not been disclosed but the deal is reported to be worth £300m.

Microsoft is thought to have become frustrated by the terms of the partnership, which was forged in the dot-com glory days of 1996. The idea was to combine interactive news media with online delivery.

Bob Visse, general manager of MSN.com, told AP:

"Being limited to MSNBC.com content was problematic to us because we couldn't have the multiple news sources and the multiple perspectives that our users were telling us that they wanted."

Microsoft now preparing to launch its own news service this fall. Visse said. The software giant is copying AOL, in owning the content creators to provide material for its sites.

As for MSNBC.com, the news site will become part of a new division called NBC News Digital, NBC reports here, under the former president and chief executive of National Public Radio. MSNBC is being rebranded NBCNews.com.

MSNBC’s president and publisher Charlie Tillinghast is reported to have said NBC News would benefit from “proper brand alignment” between TV and web properties - NBCNews.com, MSNBC cable, msnbc.com Today show and Today.com.

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." ®

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