Since 2000, Microsoft has partnered with Internet Gold, a company described as a “leading communications group” based in Israel, to operate the MSN Israel portal, which the Redmond-based software giant has owned a 49.9% share in. Internet Gold maintained a 50.1% share itself.
This arrangement is no more, according to Microsoft. Word has been released today to the effect that they have reached a severance agreement. Soon Microsoft will operate an MSN Israel portal independently, with details of the migratory process currently in discussion. In the meantime, operations conduced for the past eight years will continue as they have.
The separation isn’t likely to affect either party negatively, at least to very noticeable degree. Internet Gold CEO has explained that, while the Israeli partner has “developed MSN Israel into a leading portal in Israel,” the company also notes that revenue garnered through the arrangement amounted to less than 3% of its total revenues for 2007. Other Internet Gold interests include Start.co.il, Zahav.ru, TheMoney, Goop, and Tipo.
Microsoft has intimated its intention to pursue controlling ownership of its global set of MSN Web portals. Its long-standing deal with IG was a two-party exception to its general strategy, which it describes as one with an independent interest in nearly all of the 44 markets in which it keeps a presence.
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