Microsoft to build online news operation


Microsoft is launching its own news operation as part of its revamped MSN website when Windows 8 launches later this month. MSN will mostly aggregate news, so it could be aimed at The Drudge Report and Huffington Post.

The world’s largest software company is making a “big, multi-million dollar investment” to create a “decent-sized media operation,” said Bob Visse, GM, MSN Product Management Group.

Microsoft sold its 50% stake in news website in July to longtime partner NBCUniversal/Comcast.

MSNBC’s newsroom at Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond, WA is being wound down, while MSN builds up a news team at its nearby Bellevue offices.

MSN will chiefly aggregate news from sources such as Reuters, the AP and NBC, but it will also produce its own content, Visse told Reuters. No word on how many journalists the news site would employ.

Microsoft’s flagship website, which gets about 480 million visitors per month worldwide, is one of the biggest portals on the Internet, alongside Yahoo and AOL, and serves as the gateway to other Microsoft online services such as Outlook mail and Skype online calling.

The site is being radically overhauled for Microsoft’s touch-optimized Windows 8 system and Internet Explorer 10, which will be launched 10/26. The new look is designed to appeal to tablet and touch-screen PC users, who can manipulate large icons across the screen and tap on items they want to read.

The site will have a uniform look across all its sections, from news and sports to money and job listings.

See the Reuters story here