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Opinion: When Will Microsoft Buy Automattic & Wordpress?

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.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.