(Update: Infoworld has more details)

Matt Mullenweg, the lead developer of the popular WordPress blogging software, had hinted to us a while back that he was leaving his job at CNET.

He wanted badly to launch a company that could provide the necessary clout and support for the WordPress software and the newer WordPress.com version aimed for sale to larger companies (the comparable to Six Apart’s Typepad).

It is now official. Today, he has launched a new company, called Automattic, a bootsrapped operation (no, the company is not looking for venture capital) founded by a handful of folks (with a heavy Texas contingent) to manage WordPress, WordPress.com and Akismet (a service to help block blog spam). For now, Matt is working out of his San Francisco apartment.

We chatted with Matt last night, where he is home in Houston for the holidays, and he tells us that everything had been timed for the release of WordPress version 2.0.

While we posted last week that competitor Six Apart had scored a coup by signing a deal with Yahoo to provide the Internet giant with blog software pre-installed, it turns out that Mullenweg has scored a very similar deal with Yahoo — but had been busy working on WordPress 2.0 (which basically is a restructuring of the software’s back-end, but also has some updates on editing tools), which delayed the announcement a week. Like Six Apart, his Automattic will be paid by Yahoo for the licensing of its software across the network.