The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 September 2004

Changing hands

I never understood exactly why Microsoft bankrolled Slate in the first place; Redmond has always aspired to being a content provider, but the e-zine neither generates enormous revenues nor establishes technical standards that can be used elsewhere, and it's unlikely that MSN garners any extra dial-up subscribers just from having Slate under the wings of the butterfly.

Still, Slate has been breaking even, and when Microsoft put it up for sale this summer, I figured one of the dead-tree media would grab it and run it as an annex to its own Web presence. New York Metro.com is now reporting that the DTM in question is the Washington Post Company, though neither MS nor the WaPo will confirm at this time.

Of course, what I want to know is this: will all the old MSN-based links at Slate be changed?

(Update, 1:55 pm: Revised the first line. See comments.)

Posted at 11:43 AM to Blogorrhea


TrackBack: 7:16 PM, 27 September 2004
» WASHINGTON POST SLATED FOR A BUY? from Population Statistic
A couple of months after putting online mag Slate on the market, Microsoft may be close to selling it. New York Magazine's Metro.com is reporting that the Washington Post Company is the likely suitor, in a bid to grab Slate's high-minded readership. ......[read more]

When you say Microsoft "bought" Slate, are you sure? I seem to recall they started it up themselves, with Michael Kinsley doing the hard work. But I may be wrong.

If so, it's another property they've bought and ramped up impressively, with Hotmail being the other notable web-based one (I actually had a Hotmail account pre-Microsoft; even remember how they geekishly spelled it "HoTMailL"...)

Posted by: CT at 1:44 PM on 27 September 2004

You're quite right; while Slate didn't carry any blatant Microsoft branding at first, and Michael Kinsley did do all the heavy lifting, Bill Gates' bankroll has always been behind it. I have rewritten the first line accordingly.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:57 PM on 27 September 2004

And for quite a while after the assimilation, er acquisition, Hotmail continued to run on Linux servers. My Hotmail address predates MS as well, and it's now my "Microsoft Passport." However, I can't receive e-mail there any more - too much unwelcome potted meat. I turned off everything but "white listed" senders.

On a topical note - I wonder how this development this will affect kausfiles. I hope not at all.

Posted by: Dan Lovejoy at 3:17 PM on 27 September 2004

I've got a Hotmail address, mostly for handing out to people who insist I give them one; the pork-product content has dropped about 80 percent in the last year, suggesting that MS is at least slightly serious about it. (On the other hand, the stuff I get from the cable company is 99.44 percent unground sausage.)

Posted by: CGHill at 3:39 PM on 27 September 2004