San Francisco’s CNET Networks has hired Matt Mullenweg, the 20-year-old creator of blogging software WordPress. Mullenweg says that CNET will pay him to keep developing WordPress, an open-source project supported by a small community of developers.

WordPress has emerged as one of the more popular blogging tools of late. When SixApart in San Mateo, creator of TypePad and Movable Type, changed its licensing terms and pricing earlier this year for Movable Type, many alienated users defected to WordPress, which is free.

Mullenweg says in the comments on his blog that nothing will change with WordPress. But the CNET move raises several questions. Why is an online media company hiring software developers? What are CNET’s plans for the software, if any? Will they help develop it into an even more robust blogging platform for internal use, or one that could compete more directly with Movable Type and other tools? Or will they have Mullenweg develop another blogging platform, entirely. Either way, an interesting move.

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