Microsoft and NBC finally part ways

A divorce long in the making finally concluded Sunday.

NBC parent Comcast Corp succeeded in getting 100 percent control of MSNBC.com by buying out partner Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s 50 percent share in the joint venture for $300 million, according to a report in Reuters.

It lost no time in rechristening its new baby as NBCNews.Com.

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Jennifer Sizemore, editor-in-chief of NBCNews.com, said in a letter posted on the company’s website: “Today we’re taking on a new name — NBCNews.com. While our name is changing, our commitment is not.”

The joint venture between NBC and Microsoft was born in 1996 when the latter shelled out $220 million for a 50 percent slice of NBC and the two companies decided to create a cable news channel and an online news service.

The cable partnership dissolved, however, in 2005.

What happens to the name ‘MSNBC.com?’ Actually that would be revived next year as an independent website catering solely to the MSNBC cable channel, says a report in the NYT.

Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, was gung-ho about the acquisition, saying “It’s undeniable how big a part of all of our businesses the digital properties are going to be. We think we have a much better opportunity to shape them, and frankly grow the news division over all, if we have direct control over all of it.”

The development also sorts out a major hurdle in cross-media advertising sales. Advertisers looking to advertise on both TV and on the net were not handled effectively due to the bifurcation of functions between NBC and Microsoft.  However a joint team handled cross-media for the “Today” show and Today.com.

The success of this arrangement was a revelation and in the words of John Kelly, the executive vice president for ad sales for NBC News, “Our success in cross-media sales was one of the driving forces in wanting to get a deal done.”

Microsoft will gain by the removal of restrictions on its website MSN.com, and now it can freely source content from other news providers.

The deal was under discussion since last winter and fructified Friday.