With the MSNBC newsroom at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington, winding down to a close, MSN is now beefing up its own news team at its nearby Bellevue offices. Bob Visse, general manager of MSN Product Management Group, said this new team will produce its own content in addition to aggregating news from sources like The Associated Press, Reuters, NBC and more.
Visse told Reuters on Monday that Microsoft is dumping millions of dollars into creating a "decent-sized media operation." He wouldn't say just how many journalists the news site would employ, but instead revealed that MSN will receive a major overhaul in preparation of the service, and the upcoming release of Windows 8.
Back in July, Microsoft pulled out of its 16-year joint venture with NBC News, the latter of which is now owned by Comcast. The breakup originally began back in 2005 when Microsoft sold its portion of the MSNBC cable channel to NBC. Then during this past summer, the popular network purchased Microsoft's 50-percent interest in the MSNBC website, ending the marriage. The website team is currently packing its bags, leaving Washington behind and heading to New York City.
"Being limited to MSNBC.com content was problematic to us because we couldn't have the multiple news sources and the multiple perspectives that our users were telling us that they wanted," Visse told the Associated Press in July. He also added at the time that the new staff will roughly be around 100 people, the same number that created content for MSNBC.com.
MSN, one of the biggest portals on the internet, caters to around 400 million users per month worldwide. It serves as the gateway to numerous Microsoft services online including Skype, Outlook and more. The overhaul, according to Visse, will optimize the site for Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10, both of which will launch on October 26.
Vissa told Reuters the new design will allow users with touch-based tablets and desktop screens to manipulate large icons across the screen and tap on items that want to use and read. The site will also have a uniform look across all sections for the very first time, spanning the same design from job listings to sports to money to daily news.
Just last week, Microsoft hired former CBS Corp executive Nancy Tellem to run a new studio for creating original content on the Xbox console. Tellem was previously president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, and she now plans to dig through Microsoft's portfolio of games for sources of content. She also plans to nag Hollywood for movies, television shows and web-based content.
"It’s all about creating compelling content," Tellem said. "We’re opening our doors to all types of talent."