"I shudder to think about a MSNBC.com and Yahoo News integration," a source formerly employed by both companies in the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo merger tell us. The "cultures," she says, "will be really tough to integrate." In that case, we're happy to report the good news: There's no way it will happen. Legally, Microsoft can't keep both news sites, and if it has to choose between the two, Yahoo News would be its natural choice.
Microsoft can't run both because back when NBC and Microsoft formed MSNBC.com, Microsoft agreed that the venture would be the only source of news on Microsoft sites. A Microsoft-owned Yahoo News would violate that agreement. One of the two properties would have to go.
Expect Microsoft to keep Yahoo News and sell MSNBC.com to NBC Universal, which already owns 82 percent of the associated cable channel.
Insiders say NBC is eager to take over, and Microsoft should be happy to sell. MSNBC.com is more successful online than its TV counterpart is on cable, but according to ComScore, Yahoo News is more popular. Besides, Microsoft has specific reason to trust Yahoo News managment. It's run by the man many consider to have once made MSNBC.com what it is: Microsoft veteran Scott Moore, who's said to be missed in Redmond.