Microsoft has been in talks with News Corp about a plan to pay the media giant to block Google from indexing its online properties like The Wall Street Journal in exchange for Bing being the only search engine with access to the sites. According to The Financial Times of London, Microsoft has also talked with other big media companies about its scheme, all in a bid to hit Google's margins and take market share from the company.
The move from Big Redmond comes when the publishing industry is being battered by falling revenues and changing paradigms. Corporate media tycoons such as News Corp's Rupert Murdoch have said in the past that Google should be paying them for the right to index their online properties, a notion that flies in the fact of the openness that built the Internet in the first place.
This idea is attractive to many in the publishing space because of the decline in print revenue models, and the inability to turn online readership into the same kinds of money once enjoyed by the industry. Google, on the other hand, makes money hand over fist by directing people to all that content through its search engine. Publishers like Mr. Murdoch want Google -- or Microsoft -- to share some of that money with them.
If FT's sources are correct, and the paper quoted multiple sources from the publishing industry, Microsoft is willing to play this new game if it will help the company gain a presence for its struggling search engine, Bing.