MSNBC.com, an Internet news unit owned by Microsoft and General Electric's NBC, said Monday that it is laying off 9 percent of its roughly 200 staffers as it cuts costs amid the economic downturn.
The cuts in MSNBC.com's staff--most of whom are based at the Redmond, Wash., headquarters of Microsoft--would be across the board, MSNBC.com spokeswoman Cherylynne Crowther said.
"We have done a staff reduction as part of some cost cuts across the company," she said. "Every area has been affected."
MSNBC.com is trying to trim costs by 20 percent as it struggles, like many other media and Internet companies, with a downturn in advertising, Crowther said.
The affected workers will receive a severance package and outplacement help, she added.
The move follows cost-cutting measures implemented by the MSNBC cable news station in October that called for reviewing all nonessential costs and halting new long-form documentaries not related to the U.S. "war on terrorism."
Launched in July 1996, MSNBC.com has recently ranked among the top Web news sites. The operation had quietly mulled an initial public offering of stock during the height of the dot-com fever but shelved those plans as the bubble burst.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer raised eyebrows in June when he said that despite MSNBC's success, he would likely not have joined the venture if the decision had to be made again, because technology firms such as Microsoft should stay out of the media business.
News source: News Cnet