Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New York Times buys into WordPress

The New York Times today announced that they helped to finance a $29.5 million stake in the for-profit arm of the opensource blogging software WordPress. While WordPress is great--it's the blogging software I tell most people starting out to use--I'm at a loss to understand how buying into its parent company is going to give the Times a distinct advantage over other media companies that choose to use the software. The powerful underlying software is freely available, but the .com aspect of WordPress (which is where the investment was made) is limited and doesn't scale well. Even the Times themselves don't quite seem to know why they've bought in:
Citing a potential application of the technology, Mr. Schneider said blog posts from across the Internet could be featured alongside stories on The Times’s Web site.

Last time I checked, Google was doing this already without buying stakes in other companies. So why does the Times need to drop a dime?