Microsoft Quits MSNBC TV, but Web Partnership Remains

From the New York Times:

Ending a partnership that soured long ago, Microsoft and NBC announced yesterday that they would dissolve their joint ownership of the cable news channel MSNBC, with NBC taking control.

NBC has completed a deal to assume majority control of the channel immediately, with an 82 percent stake, and it will become the sole owner within two years, NBC executives said yesterday. The two companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

But the partners will continue their 50-50 ownership of the MSNBC Web site, which, partly as a consequence of its affiliation with Microsoft, is the most-used news site on the Internet.

The news channel, which began in 1995, has always been more of the problem child in the partnership, almost always trailing the other two news channels, Fox News and CNN, in audience ratings.

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