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Microsoft Businesses Media Television

Microsoft Leaving MSNBC TV Partnership 176

pnewhook writes to tell us The New York Times is reporting that Microsoft and NBC have announced that they will be dissolving their joint cable TV news channel, MSNBC, with NBC retaining control. From the article: "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."
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Microsoft Leaving MSNBC TV Partnership

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  • Over a barrel? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tufriast ( 824996 ) * on Saturday December 24, 2005 @02:16PM (#14332793)
    I guess NBC got tired of M$'s demanding ways. Either that, or M$ wasn't really doing anything with the TV division...and they just were using it for marketing.
    Try the Guardian for better news, or the BBC. The Brits got one thing right in my opinion: good *newsworthy* journalism. (And yeah, I'm ignoring their tabloid [] []
    • Re:Over a barrel? (Score:2, Informative)

      by dubsyngin ( 941155 )
      actual link to the BBC Story bbc story []
    • I agree, BBC has IMHO the best news website avaiable right now :)
    • being a 'Brit' (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Skiron ( 735617 )
      That is a terrible term. I am English. There are Welsh, Scottish and Irish people... a 'Brit' is unknown here.

      Anyway, as to the BBC. It is terribly bias toward 'correctness' and really sometimes reports really bad information - "Cyclist dies after colliding with car" - of course, really the car hit the cyclist... etc. etc.

      The BBC news site is perhaps the best around (the best of the worse), but it is very far from being perfect and 'unbiased', as it still is a mouthpiece for the Government, and thus, has
      • Re:being a 'Brit' (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MoonBuggy ( 611105 )
        What's the problem with Brit? You don't (often) hear Americans complaining that they're actually from a particular state, why's it any different for us? Hell, I'm happy enough to be grouped in as European to be honest (although the rest of Europe may not be so happy with that), it's not like it really matters exactly where you're from.

        As for the BBC, I agree they aren't perfect, but they're also a far cry from being a 'mouthpiece for the government'. If they're guilty of anything it's the overall 'softening
        • I think the problem with the 'Brit' term is that the only people who don't mind it tend to be the English. My Welsh relatives are adamant that they are Welsh first, and British second. Same goes for some Scottish friends. Sadly, I don't know many Irish people right now.
          • I think the problem with the 'Brit' term is that the only people who don't mind it tend to be the English.

            I'm English and while I don't have a problem with being called British, I would say that "Brit" has an unpleasant slangy quality to it. Not that it's worth making a big deal of *shrug*
        • i am a big fan of Channel 4 news [], with John Snow. As it lasts for an hour ( ok about 50 mins with ads) it can spen much more time on each topic, rather than the 1 mintue summery and generic live feed to journo in the field replying to quikly surmised answers. although i agree the BBC has to be the best online news site.
      • The BBC is hardly a 'mouthpiece for the Government' - while it receives funding in the form of the licence fee it has a duty to be impartial and not simply tell the news as the Government wants it.

        As for the 'Brit' term, I have no problem with it - I'm English, and British. Being called either is fine with me. "English" just denotes me as being from a specific country within the UK, whereas British indicates I'm from the country as a whole. I don't see the controversy - it's not like calling a Scot an En

      • Re:being a 'Brit' (Score:3, Interesting)

        by QuatermassX ( 808146 )
        I'm not a Brit, but my girlfriend (who is, from Kent) usually prefers "British" to "English" when she's talking with Americans or someone from the EU ... although will more readily self-identify as "English" when talking to someone from, say, Scotland. Hmmm ... of course, if I decide to become a citizen, I'd be "British" ... or would I be an "AmeriBrit"? ;-)

        And just to chime in: although I love the print and web edition of The Guardian (clean, crisp layout, great content is even more an attraction then th

        • I'm not overly fond of the way information is organised on the BBC's site and subsites

          If you're from the USA like you say you are, you'd spell that "organized".
      • You've never heard of the Brit awards ? Or listened to any Britpop ?
      • If you think the BBC is the mouthpiece of the Government, either you aren't really British (Brit or British is a perfectly valid term, and you do hear it in Britain, ooh, like British Airways, or British Broadcasting Corporation) or you haven't been paying an awful lot of attention.
      • Re:being a 'Brit' (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HD Webdev ( 247266 )
        That is a terrible term. I am English. There are Welsh, Scottish and Irish people... a 'Brit' is unknown here.

        US Yanks will try to be a bit more careful in the future.
        • um
          I guess its just a matter of opinion, English Welsh Irish (ulster) and Scots all come under the heading British which one you identify with is definately a matter of individual opinion. I was born in England with welsh irish and scots ancestors. Am I English because I was born in England, British is the only way to express my heritage for me, perhaps even European. My Brother thou prefers English.

          British is a nice neutral term, only liable to upset nationalists some of whom don't even realise they are not
    • It was said that during the Mexican American war, that the Mexican armies had superior equiptment, training, and size to the US armies of the time. But the funny thing was that they lost badly because, it is said, that each general was so greedy for power and control - that they refused to work together with any of the other gnereals, thus fragmenting their forces and ensuring their loss.

      In a way, it seems, that the same is true of the content cartels of today. They are so into controlling people to gain
      • I'm sorry, but the parent post 3 32895 [] isn't flamebait. It's point is very on topic and real. Maybe some people are pissed off, because they don't like the trailing hint to toss their X-box and not game. But the truth is, it it entertainment, the sacrifice being made by people who are facing hard time is real. Considering Microsoft's role in all this, I thought is was a valad side point.
    • How much do you want to bet that in a year or two we'll see a Microsoft owned and run TV channel? Probably full of "studies" and "news stories" about how much Windows saved some company, too...

      This just in: Microsoft Windows saved Joe's Sushi Emporium $28 million dollars over 1 month!
    • i agree, the guardian is a good news site, but i think the bbc is even better. why? no fucking adverts!!! nothing to distract me but the news and that's all i want.
      • why? no fucking adverts!!!

        I am glad my £110.00 a year TV licence fee I HAVE to pay goes to good causes to those that don't have to pay it.
        • You don't have to pay it. You could always detune your TV.
        • Re:Happy Chrismas!! (Score:2, Interesting)

          by JWeinraub ( 773433 )
          I would be very happy to pay £110.00 a year if it meant I can the full BBC without the editing they do to the shows when they replay them on the discovery channel.
          • I'm sure YOU would, but that's not the point. People here who have a TV *HAVE* to pay it, don't you get it? That goes against the notion of a free market capitalist system, because choice is taken out of the system. Anyone who says they are 'happy to pay' the licence fee is utterly missing the point, which is that many other people AREN'T.
    • I know this is Slashdot as we love to just talk trash about microsoft, but this has nothing to do with their "demanding ways".

      Microsoft is backing out becuase they were losing nearly 400 million a year on MSNBC, becuase no one is watching the station.

      MSNBC doesn't appeal to any single audience, they have extreme left leaning shows, and extreme right leaning shows, which just manages to piss off any single viewer.

      Those that prefer a left slant are watching CNN, and those that prefer a right slant are w
      • Re:Over a barrel? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:06PM (#14333162)
        Those that prefer a left slant are watching CNN

        Every time I see someone calling CNN "left-slanted", "left-biased" etc, I can't help but laugh at the success of the brainwashing of the American TV audience. "Left" biased?! Mother Jones [] or CounterPunch [] are examples of a "left-biased" media not CNN. CNN to many of us Canadians looks like a bastion of inane apologisms for the ruling elites (regardless of which side they are on), generic, incompetent disinformation (mostly right leaning) combined with massive amounts of brainless "infotainment". In short, CNN is a pathetic result of trying to appear "unbiased" while pandering to the lowest common denominator. As opposed to FOX which tries hard to pander to the lowest elements of the right-wing crowds and thus tries to inflame and profit from "us vs them" psychosis, persecution complexes, medieval theocratic throwbacks etc, and yet it loudly proclaims to be "unbiased" and "no spin". While offering nothing but.

        In general it appears that the enemies of the liberal phillosophies managed to shift the lanugage so that "left" is now renamed "extreme loony left", "center" to "left" and everything else "conservative". It is an interesting -- albait sad -- Orwellian language war to watch for us outsiders.

        • Re:Over a barrel? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by snilloc ( 470200 )
          As I perceived it, Fox News was GREAT when it first came out, then degraded after only a few years. Now the only things worth watching on Fox News are "Special Report w/ Brit Hume" (the 6-7pm news show) and "Fox News Sunday" (which also airs on Fox affiliates).

          For a long time, CNN was the only game in town. Now it seems to have drifted significantly leftward. I accidentally watched half an hour of CNN recently and found myself wanting to interject after each partial-fact was announced. But if there's

          • For a long time, CNN was the only game in town. Now it seems to have drifted significantly leftward

            I would disagree. I think it drifted downward which to a leftie appears to be to the "right" and to a conservative appears to be "left". In actuality they just suck.

            But if there's anything CNN isn't, it's "right leaning".

            See above. To me they appear "rightward leaning" (but that is because of where I am in the relation to them on this crude left-right spectrum). But objectively speaking, I am prepared to a

        • I was flipping through a few channels the other day, and happened upon Lou Dobbs on CNN. He was talking about outsourcing of jobs to Mexico. That's fine. The headline was "War on the Middle Class". That's left biased, don't you think?
          • The headline was "War on the Middle Class". That's left biased, don't you think?

            How so? Can you explain? I would think its simply stupid. A "war" is not waged here, there are no bullets flying or tanks rolling. Next, who exactly is waging this "war"? Depending on the answer on this question you could try to ascertain his bias. But seeing Dobbs drivel a few times before I would assume he was moaning about nebulous "corporate crooks". That is, in his view, the whole economic policy of globalisation is fine a

    • The BBC news website is very dumbed down and shallow. You generally get a few paragraphs and that's it. No real in depth coverage. The guardian is more left wing than Stalin.
  • by blueadept1 ( 844312 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @02:19PM (#14332797)
    is the most-used news site on the Internet.

    Probably because every second person has it set as their *recommended* homepage as a result of installing MSN 150 times over the past 3 years. Now all we need is slashdot messenger... yes, that's it, create a further divide in IM... muahaha!
    • Don't you just love those claims? It's like saying 100% of Prohibition alcoholics preferred Al Capone's bootleg liquor...(because the ones who didn't like it are swimming with the fishes).
    • Bahahaahahaahah! I had managers who had the MSN or MSNBC web page set to default on their browsers and they searched them all day. Then they complained about the time I spent on MSDN researching technical issues and coding help and error codes. I was using my surfing for work and they used their surfing for play. While I was trying to figure out why the latest and greatest software from Microsoft was buggy and ways to work around those bugs, they were checking stock prices, news items, etc.
    • Firefox comes with google has its homepage. I wont be surprised to hear google is the most hit page of all.

      The real interesting statistic will be which page is most often TYPED INTO the address bar by the user. Search engines should be excluded to produce the most popular 'website' since people use search engines to GET to that website. MSNBC maybe the most 'hit' website but what is the percentage of users who actually READ the site after it has been loaded?
  • by elvum ( 9344 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @02:21PM (#14332807) Journal

    The MSNBC Web site... is the most-used news site on the Internet.

    Sez who? puts it orders of magnitude below the BBC News website [], for example.

    • No wait, there's more than one MSNBC URL, isn't there? Panic over - everyone back to their own beds... ;-)
    • Infact, Alexa rates it thrird behind CNN aswell as the BBC
      In order it goes:
      1. CNN
      2. BBC
      3. MSNBC
      followed by the Newyouk times, Google news etc. Link []
    • the homepage of msnbc directs to an site, so, you should be comparing that. & [] Of course, msn has other stuff.. but, you can't use alexa to weed that out. MSN is ranked #2 behind Yahoo for most web users by alexa.
    • by badasscat ( 563442 ) <> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @03:31PM (#14333037)
      Sez who? puts it orders of magnitude below the BBC News website, for example.

      Alexa is ranking, not the news site specifically. Alexa only distinguishes TLD's.

      It would be the same thing if MSNBC numbers were counted as a part of the NBC web site, but they're not. MSNBC gets counted individually (because there is an "" TLD) and also as part of MSN's results (because MSNBC redirects to

      The question is how many people get MSNBC news through MSN vs. manually typing in "" (or typing "msnbc" and hitting ctrl-enter). Myself, I type it in, but I suspect most people are just going to MSN.

      So it's impossible to compare's numbers with's numbers because they're counted totally differently by Alexa. MSN itself has a much higher readership than the BBC as a whole, but you don't know what percentage of the users of each actually read the news on those sites.

      btw, just related to the whole BBC issue - I find their news both as biased as anyone else and often pretty uninformed. The fact that they're biased more towards a European viewpoint, which may or may not better match the bias of most of the posters here, does not change anything. I also don't see any point whatsoever in linking to them for local stories in the United States, as I see happen often here - they are writing completely devoid of context. It is, specifically, incredibly annoying to me as a New Yorker when I see anyone link to them for a story about this city, because they always completely ignore the background issues at play, and are always writing with a skewed, bemused viewpoint that suggests "this isn't the way we do things in London!"

      I would prefer it if article submitters would link to news sources with a better handle on the context of the stories they're reporting.
    • Key Word: used

      That does not mean visited. Presumably, the marketing people think, although the BBC is visited more often... MSNBC's web page is 'used' more (perhaps more people later talk about the MSNBC stories around the water cooler than the BBC?)

      It is like when a beer says it is 'the coldest tasting'. Coldest could be proven, coldest tasting can not... same thing here
    • I call BS on that one! I get my news from the following sources (in order):

    • I'm sorry, but I have to question Alexa in it's entirity; it's information is gathered from users with a piece of spyware installed that calls home and tells Alexa which sites are being used more than others.

      Of course, this is fundamentally flawed; the people without the spyware or an alexa web-tag (which is unmeasurable short of a site survey of every website) simply aren't counted and are left out. I would like to believe that if the percentage is even 50/50 people with/without spyware, that destroys t
      • Not only is Alexa's sample biased, they're also sloppy., which is the world's second largest ISP iirc, is listed as "In Form Design, Inh. Katrin Voigt"...
    • Alexa also says slashdot is hit way less than

      Its a challenge boys, lets slashdot bbc!! Test their hardware a bit.

  • "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."

    Of course, the New York Times [] and Slashdot [] stories that have referenced MSNBC's news surely helped too.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In pixel size print

    All Your Base Are Belong To Us!
  • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Saturday December 24, 2005 @02:44PM (#14332886)
    Despite the market demand for computer media and success of the cable industry and broadband internet over cable, with the AOL/Time Warner issues and now the NBC and MS issues, it appears as though the media are still content being rich like they are now (who wouldn't??). But their strangle hold on the content and their inability to change is still evident, and the only people that are really slightly inconvenienced by their actions are their paying customers. Their non-paying counterparts are just inconvenienced. FYI, convenience sells (see iTunes, "fast" food, and convenience stores for an example).

    AOL/Time Warner should have been a complete success. Time Warner owns stuff like HBO, and if they adopted something similar to the subscription model like "premium" channels it would have been a remarkable success. Content (Time Warner) and the control of the distribution channel (AOL) is ironically what they want, but can't seem to understand their own business very well. Look at the success of the porn industry with almost the same product, but they do not have a lock on the pipe like AOL/Time Warner did.

    Personally, I never understood the NBC and MS union or what their goals were, but apparently neither did they.

  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @02:49PM (#14332903)
    Because they have lost money on 99% of their other ventures.

    If Office and Windows wasn't keeping them afloat, MS would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.
  • Wait... (Score:2, Funny)

    by RedNovember ( 887384 )
    So the MS in NBC stood for "Microsoft"? I always thought it was "More Stupid NBC"...

    Come to think of it, there's not much difference there...
    • Re:Wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tdubya ( 823850 )
      maybe create an oribinal response next time rather than pulling it out a can... the only thing "more stupid" was your remark.
      • irony (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Saying the only thing "more stupid" was your remark: $0

        Saying maybe create an oribinal response next time just before that: priceless

    • I thought it was MSN BC (MSN Broadcasting Corporation or simply MSN Bullshit Channel).
    • So the MS in NBC stood for "Microsoft"? I always thought it was "More Stupid NBC"...

      Microsoft = More Stupid..... yeah. if you want to kick it up that extra level of abstraction, that still works.
  • Media Center (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheUncleD ( 940548 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @02:59PM (#14332933)
    Microsofts original idea was to tie in the media center to this. I had the 'not so' pleasurable opportunity to sit next to the head of the Media center department on an airplane ride once who told me the network was supposed to be used in conjunction with their M$ Media Center software for channel controls and additional advertising for M$ Products. I'm not a huge fan of NBC or M$'s Media Center products which have proven to do nothing extra-special (s-video out/in) boog whoopdiedoo. I think its a flop mainly. On some interesting facts, Media Center project employs 400 or so M$ employees and was in beta until last year.
    • You win double Slashdot XP points for your use of "M$" four times in one paragraph! Congrats! You are enlightened, sir.
    • Media Center was in beta until last year.
      I have been using the released version of Media Center since 2002.
      BTW, Its the best product in the market -- and I have tried every other product in the US market starting from 1997.

      Me thinks this your comment is the typical BS you read on Slashdot when it comes to MS products.
    • I am not a big MS fan, but ENOUGH with this infantile use of dollar signs already!!

      Or at least be equal opportunity about it: E.g., Appl€, or perhaps ¥ellow Dog Linux! How about $u$€ and R€d Hat?

  • Blimey it's quiet around here. Where is everyone, I thought y'all had GPS powered wifi blogs to enable you to stay online at all times, even queueing in airports or foaming at the mouth over the latest revelations about how your President is turning out to be more than a little bit of a spooky bastard, but no.

    And now I find I have nothing to say about MS selling up and moving out of what I suppose we will not know as for long... except that every so often, I like to take out a few old copies of Wi

  • There was TheSite - hosted by Soledad O'Brien with the animated charecter "Dev Null" (who was actually voiced by Leo Laporte). Of course this all started in the .com days too - the idea of "convergence" and that starting early would give them a leg up. Well convergence hasnt arrived yet (though I think it will before 2010). It makes sense for MS to exit the partership - they really aren't getting anything out of it. Hell, until this happened, I had forgot that the MS in MSNBC stood for Microsoft.
    • Fuck the main story, it's time for some offtopic banter...

      I remember thesite on msnbc. That was before tech tv or the similiar. Really, there was little/no tech presence on TV except maybe some shows on discovery channel. I remember seeing N64 for the first time on there. I didn't even know what the hell /dev/null was back then! I must have been like 11. I can't believe I remember this, but... I think Dev Null was run on dual SGI 500 mhz boxes. is probably worth A LOT of money today. Now it's
  • L

    Oh yes, oh yes.
  • despite the timing, the companies were not trying to bury the news on the slowest news weekend of the year.

    Umm... Excuse me, but isn't the slowest news day of the year the WORST time to try and bury a story? The TV media has to fill their timeslots, and papers have to fill the space, so the slower the news day, the more coverage less significant things like this will recieve. Witness the multiple stories on /. the NYTimes write-up, etc.
  • New name: (Score:4, Funny)

    by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:15PM (#14333199) Homepage
  • There was nothing about this partnership that ever made good business sense, in my opinion. It was based on some vague notion that technology and the Internet were going to render traditional television irrelevant. NBC had no need for Microsoft, which is why MS ended up shouldering so much of the financial burden. It would make as little long-term sense as an ISP merging with an entertainment/media company. And who would be dumb enough to think THAT would work? :-)
  • 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.

    Emphasis mine

    Wow. They made a point of pointing out that is only #1 because it's Microsoft. Sounds like sour grapes to me. New York Times is just pissed that THEY'RE not number one. (Well, if they were to get rid of the stupid registration requirement just to read a frickin' story, they might be.)

  • I doubt it is going to happen, but I would hope that now when NBC covers the latest major Windows malware outbreak they'll consider pointing out that there are other OSes that are unaffected.

    I'd wondered if the NBC connection to Microsoft would cause a lack of news coverage of the widespread Xbox 360 thermal problems (likely to be more widely experienced after units wrapped as gifts are opened and later when the weather gets hot). I haven't caught any tv coverage. But I didn't see coverage of the Sony fia
  • From TFA:

    "We don't expect any of our three viewers to see any significant changes to programming," executives said.

  • Remember 9 years ago when the democrats were running the show, news media was a great business, and MS announced their venture into MSNBC. Everyone cried conspiracy and thought the world was going to end because of MS. 9 years later MS discovered that it's not easy to play the news business when the democrats are losing. Now MS is out and it's time to find the next conspiracy.
  • It's too bad this didn't work the other way around... with MS staying in the television partnership and bailing out on the website.

    NBC News is fairly respectable, yet they're shooting themselves in the foot by alienating anyone who doesn't use Internet Explorer and Windows.

    They'd probably have even better numbers (even if they are already skewed by MSN...) if they allowed people using other platforms to view video content.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.