Network Meets Net

How big an audience is there for Microsoft and NBC's cable-Web news venture?

Why would Microsoft Corp., happily cranking out profits in its core business, be willing to put up more than $500 million to join NBC's plunge into the soon-to-be crowded cable news business? How could the software giant hope to see a payback, when ABC News scrapped a cable network rather than risk $800 million getting caught in the coming brawl between the incumbent giant, CNN, and its challengers?

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