Murdoch biographer: News Corp. should buy Twitter

Michael Wolff--yep, the guy who said MySpace is for "cretins"--says a good digital acquisition strategy is the company's best hope for staying afloat, and no acquisition is juicier than Twitter.

So should News Corp. buy Twitter? That's what Vanity Fair columnist and pundit Michael Wolff speculated this week in an article on Newser.com, the aggregation site he founded.

"There may not be anything less than Twitter that can distract Wall Street from News Corp.'s stubborn and, at this point, unnatural newspaper fetish," Wolff wrote, "and, as well, convince it, for one last hurrah, that (CEO Rupert Murdoch) isn't...well, gone."

The catalyst for Wolff's recommendation was the recent hire of former AOL chief Jon Miller as head of News Corp.'s digital projects. Miller's venture capital experience would make him an ideal candidate to spearhead an aggressive M&A strategy, and there's no more buzzworthy company than Twitter these days. On the flip side, there really isn't an obvious fit for it within the company, and Twitter still has yet to produce a viable strategy for long-term profits.

Wolff, who wrote this year's Murdoch biography "The Man Who Owns The News," got a whole lot of tech blog attention for insisting in an interview that " MySpace is for f***ing cretins " and predicted a swift doom for the social network. In Monday's brief Newser piece, he called Murdoch "the world's least savvy Internet guy" and said that News Corp. has "run (MySpace) into the ground" since acquiring its parent company Intermix Media for $580 million in 2005.

There are some holes in his argument, to say the least. With the help of News Corp.'s big-media muscle, MySpace was able to launch its MySpace Music joint venture last year, and while it certainly made a few missteps that led to Facebook eclipsing it in worldwide traffic, it's not quite time to stick a fork in it. User engagement is better than Facebook's, ComScore found , and it's had better luck with advertising than Facebook has.

But Wolff may have added motives to want to rip into News Corp.'s digital strategy and suggest that the long-shot possibility that it would buy Twitter is its only clear path to dot-com salvation. His beef with News Corp. has turned into a full-out feud, and the Page Six gossip section of the Murdoch-owned New York Post has recently been making a big deal of his personal life--always getting in a jab about his lack of hair. Ouch.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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