updated 01:51 pm EDT, Mon October 1, 2012
Software company makes big investment in media
Microsoft will be launching its own news operation later this month alongside the launch of Windows 8. Reuters reports that Microsoft's Product Management Group general manager Bob Visse confirmed that the software giant will be making a "big, multi-million dollar investment" with the aim of creating a "decent-sized media operation." A full redesign of Microsoft's MSN portal will accompany the new news operation, one that is aimed at tablet and touchscreen PC users.
The new MSN will largely be an aggregator of news from sources such as Reuters, the Associated Press, and NBC. It will, though, have some journalists on hand, but Microsoft has not revealed how many the news site will employ.
MSN gets about 480 million visitors per month, making it one of the largest portals on the Internet. The coming redesign will optimize the site for Internet Explorer 10 as well as Microsoft's touchscreen-enabled Windows 8 platform.
MSN will not be the first of Microsoft's sites to undergo a touch-oriented redesign. Earlier this year, Microsoft began previewing Outlook.com, an email service meant to replace Hotmail. That redesigned site borrowed heavily from the user interface that distinguishes Windows 8, with a heavy focus on text and a minimalist aesthetic.
The new foray into news is not exactly new for Microsoft, either. Until this summer, the company was a co-owner of MSNBC, a news organization it founded with NBCUniversal. In July, Microsoft sold its 50 percent stake in MSNBC.com and the MSNBC brand to its former partner, giving Comcast -- which owns a majority of NBCUniversal -- ownership of the brand. Microsoft has maintained an interest in creating its own content, though, as evidenced by the company's hiring of a former CBS executive to run a studio aimed at creating original entertainment for the Xbox console.