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Microsoft would no doubt have the money to buy Hulu, the popular online television and movie service, but would it have the inclination?

My gut reaction is no, but the L.A. Times reports this morning that the Redmond company is among the potential buyers that Hulu has begun meeting with as it explores the possibility of a sale. The story describes Google as engaging in preliminary talks with Hulu about an acquisition. Hulu’s process of exploration was reportedly sparked by Yahoo approaching the company about a potential deal.

Microsoft will be watching the process closely, at least, based on the implications for areas of its business including Xbox Live, which is among the growing number of ways that people can access the Hulu Plus subscription service. But Hulu is about content more than technology, and in that way it would be a surprise to see Microsoft pursue an acquisition — unless it’s a defensive move to keep the company out of Google’s hands.

Steve Ballmer & Co. also have an $8.5 billion preoccupation in the form of Microsoft’s deal to acquire Skype.

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