Microsoft is pulling out of the joint venture that owned MSNBC.com so it can build its own online news service.
The breakup announced late Sunday dissolves the final shred of a 16-year marriage between Microsoft Corp. and NBC News, which is now owned by Comcast Corp. The relationship began to unwind in 2005 when Microsoft sold its stake in MSNBC’s cable TV channel to NBC.
Now NBC is buying Microsoft’s 50 percent interest in the MSNBC website for an undisclosed amount. The deal will result in MSNBC.com being rebranded as NBCNews.com.
The online divorce stems from the two partners’ desire to gain greater control over their digital destinies as the Internet becomes an increasingly important part of their businesses.