Microsoft to Buy Shares in Facebook - News Articles :
Microsoft Corp., lagging behind Google Inc. in the online advertising market, is in talks to purchase a stake of as much as 5 percent in social-networking site Facebook Inc.
The investment may be $300 million to $500 million, giving Facebook an overall value of $10 billion, the newspaper reported on its website, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The talks are still preliminary, and Google has also expressed interest.
For Facebook, the talks come about one year after a proposed deal with Yahoo collapsed. Facebook then was said to be seeking more than the $1.65 billion Google paid for YouTube - and considerably more than the $580 million News Corp. paid for MySpace in 2005.
This move by Microsoft will help bring the software giant further into the realms of the internet.
While already synonymous with operating systems and office productivity software, the company hasn't really taken off in areas that rival Google has exceeded in. Investing in Facebook will offer a jump-off platform to get new online software out to the public. There has already been cases of developers selling their applications after they've become popular on Facebook.
News of the talks between Microsoft and Facebook came on the heels of reports of a high-level, confidential meeting at Google on Friday 21.9.2007 in which several executives and investors discussed Facebook. Participants were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, but Michael Arrington of the blog TechCrunch reported that three participants said Facebook was the central topic. He reported that a group of "industry luminaries" attended a cloak-and-dagger meeting at Google's headquarters to discuss how to deal with Facebook, whose 40-million-plus users aren't the issue so much as its open development...