Is Microsoft shopping for a social network? The Wall Street Journal reports today that Microsoft may be purchasing as much as a 5% stake in Facebook, a share valued at $300-$500 million. The WSJ speculates that a deal like this could push the value of Facebook into the $10 billion range—exactly the price tag investor Tim Thiel named in July. Further rumors state that Google may also be looking to purchase a stake in the social network.
An investment in Facebook could give Microsoft or Google greater opportunities to tie their services in with Facebook at a time when they’ve both recognized that social networking is changing how consumers tap into their core activities, such as Web search and email.