What does the ‘MS’ in ‘MSNBC’ stand for?

What does the ‘MS’ in ‘MSNBC’ stand for?

The “MS” in cable news channel MSNBC’s name originally stood for “Microsoft” — though today the letters officially have no meaning.

  • When the network launched in 1996, it was a partnership between NBC News and Microsoft, meant to be a connection between the Internet and news.
  • Microsoft reportedly invested over $220 million for a 50 percent stake in the channel.
  • The companies built a massive studio and newsroom in Secaucus, New Jersey, receiving tax incentives to do so. The facility also relocated the main newsroom for NBC News to New Jersey from NBC’s headquarters in Rockefeller Center.
  • MSNBC replaced “America’s Talking,” an NBC owned cable channel, on cable providers that carried it.
  • In 2005, Microsoft sold its interest in the cable channel to NBC, but remained a partner in the online portion, namely the MSNBC.com website, which was the online home for all NBC News and MSNBC programming.
  • In 2007, NBC closed the New Jersey facility, which triggered it having to pay back portions of the tax credits it had been given to locate operations there.
  • A new combined newsroom for both MSNBC and NBC was built inside of 30 Rockefeller Center.
  • MSNBC’s old headquarters is now home of the MLB Network.
  • In 2012, Microsoft exercised its option to sell its stake MSNBC.com to NBC.
  • NBC then moved its general news website to NBCNews.com, with MSNBC.com relaunched as the home for news, information and video from MSNBC programs.
  • Despite Microsoft no longer having a part of MSNBC, the name has remained, despite numerous reports over the years that a name change was being considered.
  • Officially, however, “MS” has no meaning other as of 2018 — and is likely kept around to leverage the brand recognition MSNBC has built over the years.

This post was last updated November 28, 2018 and, although it was believed to be accurate at that time, this information may have changed since this time. Although reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of this answer, it cannot be guaranteed and you are encouraged to verify any details independently.