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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 20, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Google WAS going to buy a newspaper, CEO says

Google seriously considered buying a paper via its Google.org philanthropic arm, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt told the Financial Times.

But the company decided against the move and is now focused on working with newspapers and their Web sites, the article said:

“Clever ideas” about sheltering newspapers in non-profit structures had been suggested to the Google.org foundation but “they are unlikely to happen without some massive, massive set of corporate bankruptcies,” Mr Schmidt said.

Schmidt didn’t confirm rumors and speculation that the New York Times was the target paper.

Would Google really drop a billion on a newspaper while it’s going through all sorts of gyrations to minimize capital expenditures in its core business? For reference, check the perpetually delayed Google campus in Kirkland.

I wonder if this disclosure is a clever way to mend the spat between Google and the newspaper industry that surfaced during last month’s Associated Press meeting.

Did the AP flap push the search company to do backroom damage control?

Schmidt’s apparently benevolent comments come after NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller characterized Google as an “ally” in a staff meeting, according to a Tuesday report in the New York Observer.

Comments | Topics: Google, media, new york times

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