NBC Finalizes Microsoft Divorce, Wins Custody of MSNBC.com

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Chris Matthews is partying on the inside. Photo: Frederick M. Brown/2011 Getty Images

Following rumors that NBC and Microsoft's relationship was coming to an end, on Sunday night, the companies announced that their sixteen-year partnership is officially over. NBC is buying Microsoft's half of the MSNBC.com website for an undisclosed figure (or, as sources disclosed to the New York Times, roughly $300 million) and it's already redirecting visitors to NBCNews.com. Both parties have issued statements on their plans for revamping their digital content — the corporate equivalent of hitting the town and drunkenly singing along every time you hear "I Will Survive."

Microsoft ended its relationship with the MSNBC cable channel in 2005, but the web partnership still produced problems for both sides. MSNBC didn't really have a home for its left-leaning political commentary, and executives at both NBC News and MSN were concerned that people assumed the straight coverage from NBC News was biased. Plus, those at MSN.com were frustrated by being limited to posting news from NBC.

"There is no question that we are going to have more flexibility to make our own decisions," Vivian Schiller, NBC News's chief digital officer, told the Associated Press. "This is really an amicable breakup. We think competition will make us better."

The companies will take two years to fully sever ties, and for the time being, NBCNews.com will look exactly like MSNBC.com, aside from a different logo. MSN is planning to launch its own news site in the fall and MSNBC will create a repository for its liberal pundits next year.

As noted by TVNewser, the cable network launched on July 15, 1996, so the companies announced their split on their sixteenth anniversary. Looks like the romance really was gone.