How would a Microsoft/Yahoo deal affect newspapers?

by Mark Fitzgerald, Editor and Publisher

More than one-third of the daily newspapers in America have signed on as part of the Yahoo newspaper consortium, joining their deep local roots to the national reach of the HotJobs recruitment network -- and counting on monetizing other innovations in search and advertising.

So how will Microsoft's $44 billion bid for Yahoo -- and Google's aggressive opposition to a deal clearly aimed at it -- affect that consortium? The first reaction of some newspaper bloggers are that newspapers could be pushed to the background during the wrangling, or pushed to the curb if Microsoft succeeds in its bid.

Ken Doctor, a former Knight Ridder Digital vice president, for instance, suggests on Content Bridges that the news came as a shock to newspaper executives. "Here they are, in the first year of marriage, and someone may have switched the groom," he writes.

And Alan D. Mutter, managing partner for San Francisco-based Tapit Partners, calls the Microsoft bid a warning to newspapers "not to put all their eggs in Yahoo's basket."

"I'm just saying that it's a really big company with a lot of things going on," he tells E&P.

"With far bigger lines of business and more momentous issues at stake for Yahoo and a potential acquirer, it is not hard to imagine how the newspaper project could be overlooked, sidetracked, or, in the worst case, scuttled," he writes.

article originally published at

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey