Surprise: Microsoft News is a Success

Posted on October 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Bing + MSN, iOS, iPadOS, Mobile, Windows 10 with 32 Comments

Microsoft says that its News service has 550 million monthly users and has generated $1 billion in “sustainable” revenue for the industry.

“In 2014, we stopped creating original content for MSN to focus exclusively on licensing, curating, and promoting content from publishers across the news industry,” Microsoft’s Taroon Mandhana writes. “Our model was—and is—simple. License content from our worldwide community of over 4,500 media brands. Use a mix of algorithms and human insight to combine and curate that content into news feeds that power our experiences on the web, desktop, and mobile. [And] integrate high-quality advertising and share revenue with our publishing partners.”

6 years later, Microsoft’s Mandhana says, the firm has shared over $1 billion with a community of over 4,500 global news publishing partners. He claims that Microsoft News is the number one “desktop news service,” by which I assume he means its use in Windows 10, though that is technically a mobile app as well. And that Microsoft News reaches over 550 million people every month in 180 countries and in 31 languages across—wait for it—“MSN, Bing News, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Launcher, the Windows lock screen, apps for Windows, iOS, and Android, and popular third-party mobile OEMs, mobile carriers, and browsers.”

Looking ahead, Microsoft is working to leverage AI “to drive faster and more complete investigative reporting,” help newsrooms modernize with “data journalism,” reinvent its apps for new device form factors, and expand its News platform to include news and content for emerging verticals, including eSports.

“Most importantly, we’re deeply investing in our core platform and distribution partnerships to ensure that our publishing partners’ world-class content can reach more people, on more devices, in more languages and geographies than ever before,” Mandhana says.

Additionally, Microsoft announced an effort to help journalists with the tools, technologies, and even funding that they need to survive in today’s world.

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