Rumors ran rampant at some of the less scrupulous computer news sites (you know, ZDNet, news.com, all the usual suspects) that Microsoft was trying to offload the Microsoft Network (MSN) and its two million customers to AT&T. These sites quoted sources "close to both parties" who stated that either the talks had recently broken off or that they are still ongoing.

It ain't so, according to Microsoft. The company felt it needed to publicly respond to these rumors and spokesperson Marty Taucher says that none of it is true: None of MSN is up for sale, nor has it ever been. In fact, Taucher says that Microsoft is pouring millions of dollars into the number two ISP while it beefs up marketing and infrastructure (coincidentally, I happened to catch an MSN advertisement on TV earlier today). Microsoft will spend over $100 million marketing MSN this year, Taucher says.

MSN includes an online service with two million users, the wildly popular HotMail email service, and Web communities such as Slate, CarPoint, and Expedia.