Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dropped something of a bombshell in an interview with Charlie Rose that was posted on the 60 Minutes’ Web site last night: Buying the Washington Post wasn’t something he planned.
“I didn’t seek to buy the Washington Post,” Bezos said when Rose asked him why he bought the paper earlier this year.
Instead, Post owner Don Graham reached out to Bezos through an intermediary, and said that because of his track record disrupting the retail industry, he would be a perfect fit for running the paper. After having “multiple conversations” with Graham, Bezos came around to the newspaperman’s line of thinking, purchasing the Post in August for $250 million.
“Don thought that because the newspaper business is being so disrupted by the Internet that somebody who had a lot of Internet knowledge and technology knowledge could actually be very helpful to the Post,” Bezos said.
Still, it looks like he has a steep learning curve ahead of him. Bezos told Rose that he was originally cautious about the purchase because he doesn’t “know anything about the news business.” And while he plans to bring the same disruptive instincts to the Post that have served him well at Amazon, the newspaper business is proving notoriously hard to fix.
Compared to all the talk of autonomous delivery drones last night, it’s not a particularly interesting answer. It’s also in line with comments Bezos made in his interview with the Washington Post about the acquisition earlier this year.
But while buying the Post may not have been his idea at first, Bezos seems (at least outwardly) committed to seeing his purchase through.