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Rupert's MySpace mea culpa

Everybody else's fault, actually

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War-weary News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch made one concession at the company’s high drama AGM on Friday, stating the MySpace acquisition was a “huge mistake.”

The sorry tale of the social network’s digital demise at the hands of NewsCorp began with the purchase of MySpace for $US580 million in 2005. “We paid $US600 million. We could have sold it for $US6 billion a month later,” Murdoch told shareholders.

“I made a huge mistake. We then proceeded to mismanage it in every possible way,” he said. But Murdoch then threw in the caustic barb, “all of the people concerned with it are no longer with the company.”

This isn’t strictly true as former AOL CEO Jon Miller, who joined News Corp in March 2009 as its great digital savant, is still apparently in Camp Murdoch as CEO of digital media and chief digital officer.

He was brought in to - among other digital super charging duties - turn the ailing fortunes of MySpace around. Despite ousting a lot of bodies and a couple of CEOs, it was pretty clear that this feat wasn’t going to happen. He then helped shift the asset into the hands of Justin Timberlake and Specific Media for $US35 million earlier this year.

Miller also spearheaded News Corp's foray into its iPad only newspaper, The Daily, and is also in charge of Hulu, which was pulled out of serious sale discussions earlier this month.

Perhaps Murdoch was pointing the finger at former MySpace CEO (and Miller oustee) Owen Van Natta who is now at Zynga as EVP and earned $US43 million last year; or Mike Lang, one of the architects of the MySpace acquisition when he was an EVP at News Corp, who is now the freshly installed CEO of Miramax; or former MySpace CEO Mike Jones who has recently started a Los Angeles-based incubator? ®

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