BusinessWeek and Capital IQ, a unit of Standard & Poor's, last week announced the launch of a joint venture. Company Insight Center (CIC) is a free online business and financial information resource. It will combine the strengths of both McGraw-Hill company properties--content from BusinessWeek and research from Capital IQ--to offer users a source of information on companies, industries and personalities.

The new product, which will triple the size of, will target individual investors, researchers, students and managers. CIC contains complete information about more than 42,000 active public companies, 322,000 private organizations and more than one million executives and board directors. It also includes information about mergers and acquisitions. Users can also access market data from more than 50 of the world's largest stock exchanges as well as specific information about each member of a company's board of directors.

By simply repackaging its current offerings, McGraw-Hill has created an interesting product that will likely attract a new set of customers for the professional publishing powerhouse. Both BusinessWeek and Capital IQ are strong information entities separately and will be extremely valuable and powerful together. It should definitely prove to be a successful partnership.

Offering such valuable data from well-known stalwarts as Business Week and Capital IQ free of charge may seem risky, but it's certainly worth the gamble. Business information users have so many choices for free content that McGraw-Hill needs to add itself to the mix. CIC will only help further raise the profile of these McGraw-Hill units and could likely lead to the addition of paid subscribers down the road.