It appears that the ongoing confusion is now finally over. C|Net News.com released an article detailing the interview of John Nicols, who was formerly the head of MSNBC, MSN TV, MSN IA [Internet Access, a/k/a dial-up], among other things I'm sure. In the interview he sets the record straight that he was asked by Yusuf Mehdi, senior VP of information services at MSN, to "build this network into what it really should be." Nicol, who was volunteering his time in Uganda, got on a plane in November back to Redmond.
Nicol is now in charge of building MSN into a complete content based Internet network, facing stiff competition from Yahoo and it's powerful media site, LAUNCHcast, which was acquired in it's purchase of LAUNCH Media, Inc. in 2001. Nicol is also joined by Rob Bennett who was promoted to general manager of entertainment and video services for MSN, and Joe Michaels who was promoted to director of business development of entertainment and video services for MSN.
Nicol says he wants to make MSN into a media network that will anticipate what customers "want to see, read, interact with on the Internet, and allow them to participate in its creation." However, he's clear to point out that MSN will not "re-brand" the MSN name to MSN Media Network as previously insinuated by other sources. As mentioned on this site, MSN will simply be re-launching content sites in "wave 11.0" to better deliver on customer's needs, as MSN has always been doing since it's inception. What's actually important is the new content that's coming to MSN, certainly not the name.
What's interesting is that MSN has completely backed down from even remotely calling itself the "MSN Media Network." Most likely because after breaking ties with MSNBC, Microsoft certainly doesn't want to raise any more concerns [again] that it might become the next media network like Disney or Viacom, which was the whole concern back in 1996 with the creation of MSNBC. I'm not saying the whole PR debacle we just noticed means anything particular, it's simply interesting; we present the facts, you make the decisions.