Microsoft is tweaking how it delivers news after more than two decades of experience.
Newly named Microsoft News will be the backbone powering a redesigned app for Android and iOS and a more unified experience across mobile, Windows 10, Skype, Outlook and the Microsoft Edge browser home page. MSN is going away at the mobile level, but MSN.com, the news portal that dates back to Windows 95, will continue to exist.
Microsoft works with more than a 1,000 “premium publishers” and more than 3,000 news organizations around the world for its news platform. Microsoft combines artificial intelligence with a team of more than 800 editors working from 50 global locations around the world, including editorial offices in India, Germany, France, Mexico, Canada and Spain, to find the best and most relevant stories.
The redesigned mobile app includes greater personalization options, such as the ability to choose interests like fitness, world news or finance to focus the news feed on. It also enables breaking news alerts, includes a dark mode and the ability to continue reading stories seamlessly across devices.
MSN was a novel idea when it debuted in 1995, and Microsoft’s news efforts now reach more than 500 million people in more than 140 countries and 28 languages. But Microsoft isn’t alone, as the tech industry is now all over the news business. Aggregators like Apple News and Google News represent a prominent player in news, Facebook goes back and forth on whether it is a media company and Twitter is both a leading way to share news, as well as make it.
And while these tech companies all claim to have a mission to disseminate news more widely, they represent another hurdle for traditional news organizations struggling with the mass migration to digital content. Microsoft sees itself as a complement to the news business and says it has returned more than $600 million to its publishers over the last four years, “enabling them to focus on what they do best: quality journalism.”