Microsoft offloads Sidewalk

Microsoft Corporation announced Monday that it was selling the city guide portion of its Sidewalk city guide Web sites franchise to TicketMaster-CitySearch for approximately $290 million. Sidewalk, which has been losing money since its introduction two years ago, provides 77 cities with entertainment listings, reviews, and "what to do" content that is tailored to the region.

TicketMaster plans to combine Sidewalk with its own CitySearch service, which currently covers 33 cities. As part of the deal, TicketMaster becomes the exclusive provider of entertainment information on Microsoft's MSN Web sites.

The irony to this deal, of course, is that TicketMaster sued Microsoft a year and a half ago for linking to TicketMaster's Web site from Sidewalk. This frivolous suit, over a course of action that would have only brought more money to TicketMaster, was quietly settled.

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