Google CEO Eric Schmidt says the search giant has considered buying a newspaper, but decided it wants to maintain a line between newspaper content and Google's technology.
Besides, he told the Financial Times, potential newspaper targets are too expensive or have too much liability. Observers have speculated that Google might be looking at The New York Times, where it reportedly was offered a 20 percent stake.
Schmidt said Google helps newspapers most by driving traffic to their ad-supported Web sites. He said Google is not monetizing news content, so there's no revenue to share with the newspapers.
A subscription model might work for some specialized newspaper content, but not for easily available general news, Schmidt told the Times.
He confirmed talks with The Washington Post about generating advertising through online news. But he called mixing news and profits "uncomfortable" and said Google's foundation is unlikely to add a newspaper as a nonprofit business "without some massive, massive set of corporate bankruptcies."
Just because Google has $18 billion in cash doesn't mean it's going on a shopping spree, he said, but he wouldn't comment about a possible Twitter acquisition.
A member of the board at Apple, Schmidt said he has avoided discussions about the iPhone because Google backs the Android mobile platform. Many handset makers have announced plans for Android-powered devices, and Apple is rumored ready to announce a new iPhone design.