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Microsoft Breaks From NBC, Launches News Portal

SAN FRANCISCO -- Software giant Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has parted company with NBC News, pulling out of their joint venture MSNBC to launch its own online news service, NBC News said Sunday. Moving on "allows us to go out and innovate," Bob Visse, general manager of MSN.com, told NBC news, confirming that MSN.com had begun hiring for a new news operation that will launch later this year. "If you start thinking about what we're going to be doing in Windows and the Bing app and what we're going to be doing...across multiple platforms, it makes a lot of sense for Microsoft," he said. "We're talking about using technology and using data to solve information delivery and news delivery in new and innovative ways. It's really difficult for us to do that when we have an exclusive, single-source relationship with one news provider." Under the joint venture, NBC News had been the sole provider of news for MSN.com, which will now be free to forge partnerships with other media organizations. NBC News said it would continue to provide news for MSN.com and would continue to sell the rebranded NBCNews.com's advertising inventory for an undisclosed period to minimize the disruption in ad revenue. The deal means NBC effectively buys Microsoft's 50% stake in the MSNBC. No details of the financial arrangement were provided. Anyone opening up the MSNBC.com website is now automatically redirected to NBCNews.com.

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