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Opinion: When Will Microsoft Buy Automattic & Wordpress?

WebNews
, 22 Sep 2011News

Automattic has been quietly building up an online empire which excels at one thing: attracting publishers of any size and pulling in billions of pageviews thanks to Wordpress.com.

Given that Google has already purchased two of the biggest independent publishing platforms, Blogspot.com and Blogger.com, it would make sense for Microsoft to acquire Wordpress sooner rather than later.

Beyond being a mere publishing platform though, Wordpress has made, over the years, some significant but low key acquisitions which provide much needed help for content creators; these include Akismet, After the deadline, IntenseDebate, PollDaddy, BuddyPress etc.

Wordpress, as an open source content management system, powers 14 per cent of the web (of the top one million websites) and is behind big names such as Mashable and Techcrunch.

AOL purchased Techcrunch for $30 million and Huffington Post for $315 million. Together they are significantly smaller than Wordpress which means that Microsoft would probably need to fork out closer to $1 billion.

Both Microsoft and Wordpress have a working relationship; when Microsoft closed its own service, Windows Live Space, it encouraged its users to migrate over to Wordpress.com which now serves around 24 million individual blogs.

Its latest feature, adding a "follow" button to all hosted blogs, is a step towards making Wordpress a more social environment, one that's currently feeling the heat from the likes of Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.

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