Not only are they paying dividends, but they are seeking to unload the beloved Slate.com as well:
Microsoft Corp. is in talks with five or six potential buyers for its online magazine Slate, an executive said Friday.
Scott Moore, general manager of MSN Network Experience, which handles content for Microsoft’s MSN division, said the company is in early discussions with several media companies over a potential sale.
Moore declined to identify the companies, and cautioned that the deals might not come to fruition. “We’re at the beginning of the process,” he said.
Moore said Microsoft has been approached before about a possible sale of Slate, but this is the first time it is taking the offers seriously. He said Microsoft is especially interested in a deal that might allow it to create a partnership with another media company, which could potentially help increase advertising revenue on the MSN site.
The paper version of this article mentions The New York Times and Washington Post as possible buyers.
Here is the full story.
The bottom line: Slate will get worse. Current revenue is $6 million a year, the site breaks even, and visitor numbers are falling. Microsoft can treat it as a kind of vanity project, but trying to squeeze regular profit out of it is unlikely to succeed.