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Celebrity gossip, Microsoft? Really?

The technology conglomerate's MSN division launches Wonderwall, a new entertainment news site that aggregates content from others. As if we didn't have enough of those already.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
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.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

I don't think I can come close to beating Kara Swisher's headline at All Things Digital, "Is Wonderwall Gonna Be the One That Saves MSN?"

So I'll just cut to the chase: in a move that seems to be way, way, way out in left field, Microsoft's MSN division has partnered with media company BermanBraun to launch an entertainment news site called Wonderwall.

Geared toward a slightly more highbrow breed of entertainment fan than the Perez Hilton set, Wonderwall primarily aggregates content from other entertainment sites but has an editorial team spearheaded by pop-culture veteran Alex Blagg. (He's on Twitter, natch.)

The launch of Wonderwall comes right before Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony. It also happens to be timed perfectly to fit two high-profile celebrity scandals, the Michael Phelps up-in-smoke fiasco and the Christian Bale audio freakout.

So--why? Well, big tech players seem to want to have an in-house celebrity news hub, for one reason or another. Time Warner's AOL has the hugely successful TMZ, Yahoo has OMG (and indeed, the interface looks a bit like OMG), and Google has...um...the "entertainment" section of Google News.

And despite this whole "advertising recession" thing, we've seen big tech companies increasingly investing in ad-supported content. Perhaps as blog networks find themselves strapped for cash and print media companies find themselves smacking into financial icebergs, the tech companies see a potential gap in the market.

AOL rolled up all its content properties into a conglomeration called MediaGlow recently. We can only wonder if MSN's Wonderwall is the start of something similar in Redmond.