by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 12th 2009 12:50am
Fortune has a story that's getting plenty of attention claiming that Google "seriously considered" an opportunity to purchase 19% of the NY Times that is being held by hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners. Of course, no one seems to explain why Google would seriously consider such an investment. It seems like any analysis, whether serious or not, would suggest that such an investment would make almost no sense for Google, and almost certainly would cause more trouble than it was worth. It would, for example, freak out other newspapers, who despite their sudden desire to get Google to fund them, would claim that Google was unfairly favoring the NY Times at their expense. It would also raise all sorts of questions about how Google runs a content play. While Google has experimented with content plays with things like Knol, the company's focus has always been on enabling content creation -- not on funding content itself. In fact, it's this fundamental misunderstanding that has newspapers incorrectly thinking Google is trying to kill them, rather than recognizing it's actually helping them.
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