updated 12/21/2004 12:33:23 PM ET 2004-12-21T17:33:23

Microsoft Corp. sold its popular Slate online magazine Tuesday to The Washington Post Co., a move that makes Slate’s political commentary and quirky feature articles more broadly available across the Internet. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Slate editor Jacob Weisberg said the amount was “a very respectable, impressive price.”

Microsoft has said Slate, with roughly 6 million readers monthly, breaks even financially but isn’t consistently profitable.

Microsoft has sought a buyer since the summer. Under the sales agreement, visitors to Microsoft’s MSN Web site will continue to be directed to Slate.

“We just came to the realization that at this stage in our growth and the development of the magazine, it made sense for us to be at a more traditional media company,” Weisberg said.

The Post, which has increasingly sought unique content for its Web site distinct from its published newspaper articles, said it plans no editorial changes at Slate. Weisberg will remain editor, and Slate will continue to operate offices in New York and Washington. Slate will close a small office in Redmond, Wash.

The Post said it will operate Slate as part of the same business subsidiary, Washington Post Newsweek Interactive, that runs its popular Washingtonpost.com and Newsweek.com Web sites.

The Post already has a financial relationship with Microsoft. Its Web site has an alliance with MSNBC.com and its reporters frequently appear on MSNBC’s cable television network to discuss their work. Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, was named a board member for the Post Co. earlier this year.

Political commentator and columnist Michael Kinsley founded Slate with Microsoft’s financial backing in 1996, and was its editor until February 2002. In April, Kinsley was named editorial and opinion editor at the Los Angeles Times.

During its eight years online, the Web magazine has become known for its political commentary and quirky news and arts features.

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