Putting the MSN Back into MSNBC

by Frank La Vigne

Preston Galla says that “The Internet wars are over, and Microsoft lost. That's the clear message from the impending Google buyout of five percent of AOL for $1 billion.”

While the recent news about MSN and MSNBC parting ways might lead one to agree with his assesment, I wouldn't call the fight just yet.

Microsoft has some very deep pockets and, if they can get their act together to build a strategy for MSN, they could, in fact, dominate the media market as well.  It would take hard work, money and a major shift in strategy, but they've done it before and I see no good reason why Microsoft couldn't pull it off again.

Perhaps, first and foremost, MSN has to move its headquarters from Redmond to New York City. 

Paul Mooney has been saying this for a while, but it really is insane for a serious media venture to start out anywhere other than the media capital of the world.

Secondly, some more tie-ins between the news and technology would have been nice. 

Paul, once again, explains it well in another post

Microsoft's NYC office is now in Rockefeller Center where NBC is headquartered, but MSN stayed out in Redmond. So much was expected of a cable channel part owned by Microsoft, but the best they could do was third place behind CNN and FOX.

I never saw anyone with a Tablet PC on MSNBC, or how about a show about personal computing? A televised conversation about technology and how it helps us to get stuff done is needed. Television never lived up to the promise of teaching everyone to read and now it has failed to help increase computer literacy.

The MSNBC Website will still bridge the two companies, but you never know where MSN is going to go next….

He's absolutely right.  MSNBC should have had more interaction with Microsoft and used more of their technology in front of the camera.

They started off right in 1996 with a show like The Site, which was a daily technology show with Soledad O'Brien.  The show was cancelled supposedly due to poor ratings.

The show reviewed web sites, answered technology questions, and even had industry gossip in a segment with a virtual character named Dev Null (see picture).

Obviously, the people behind MSNBC killed a great show before it hit its stride.  As a new cable news network, any show on the channel needed time to find an audience.

MSNBC is third in ratings next out of three major cable news networks, so what does that tell you about the decisions being made about programming at MSNBC?

The facts speak for themselves.

Microsoft has the ability to put the MSN back into MSNBC by taking a concept like Channel9 and turning it into a technology news program.   I hear Kevin Rose is looking for a new job.

Imagine him and Scoble hosting a technology show aimed for geeks.  People might actually start watching MSNBC.

So, what would you like to see on a Geek Themed TV Show?