Msnbc (stylized as msnbc) is an american cable news, information, and political opinion channel available in the united states, europe, south africa, the middle east and canada. its name was derived from the most common abbreviations for microsoft and the national broadcasting company. msnbc and msnbc. com were founded in 1996 as partnerships of microsoft and general electric's nbc unit, which is now nbcuniversal. the online partnership of msnbc.