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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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September 17, 2008 9:25 AM

Report: Google to buy Valve (or maybe not ...)

Posted by Brier Dudley

This is pretty huge, if it pans out: The Inquirer is reporting that Google's going to buy Valve, the Eastside developer of the hit "Half-Life" franchise and operator of an online game play and distribution service called Steam.

If true, it would be a huge leap into gaming by Google and pit the search company directly against Microsoft's Live online gaming service.

It would also continue Google's strategy of leaping ahead by acquiring batches of local talent with Microsoft backgrounds -- Valve founders Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington used to work up the road in Redmond before they started the company in 1996.

Newell said last May he wasn't interested in selling and independence and autonomy helped make Valve successful.

But maybe he'd like some firepower now that Microsoft's making aggressive moves into his territory, with free online gaming offers intended to boost the use of its Live gaming network among PC gamers.

UPDATE: MTV Multiplayer blog reached Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi, who said it's "complete fabrication."

Okay, maybe it's nothing, but why didn't he say "no, Google is not buying Valve"? Perhaps the comment below was on to something - perhaps Google made a move, but it wan't accepted?

I still haven't heard back from either company, will update as I hear more.

(Note: I'd earlier said Valve was in Kirkland but it's business address is on NE 8th in Bellevue.)

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.