Report: Microsoft May Pay News Corp to Block Google

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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.

Comments

Khaled

if MS offered to pay TMO, would you do it? smile

Bryan Chaffin

That’s a great question, and we were obliquely discussing that very topic in today’s staff meeting.  To remove all partisanship from the discussion, I would imagine that any business decision would be based on the value of said payments versus the value from the inevitable loss of traffic.  Then we’d have to extend those values out over the longhaul.

I would be surprised if Microsoft could make that worth our while, but the reality is that it will never come up.  These kinds of deals will almost definitely be limited to the large media companies. If we said pay us or you can’t index us, the search engines wouldn’t care less.

But this just brings us to a corollary on this topic: These kinds of payments to media giants would give them a significant competitive advantage over smaller companies like ours, effectively reversing some of that erosion to the barrier-to-entry the Internet has heretofore wrought.

Photodan

What a nightmare. (and typical Microsoft behavior - if you can’t do something better, pay someone off)

How many search engines (both good and bad) will there be when searching rights are up for bid?
How will the user know what sites are indexed by what search engines?

Finding things on the net will become a confusing mess, just like it was before. The “Web portal” model died for a reason.

James

@Photodan - very much agreed. There just don’t seem to be limits to MS’ schoolyard acts of reprehensibility. It’s just getting retarded at this point. Shutting users out like this ultimately hurts the media giants too-we’ve seen this over and over again as the web has evolved, and it’s alarming how many of these partnership failures have centered around Microsoft and their ‘strategies’. Put the effing bankroll away and make good products, for eff’s sake.

I’m hoping that they continue to spread themselves so thinly over so many failing ventures that they just self-destruct. Enough is enough already, Mao-crosoft.

geoduck

Mao-crosoft.

An interesting comparison. One with some validity, especially in Mao’s later years IMO.

Lee Dronick

What a nightmare. (and typical Microsoft behavior - if you can?t do something better, pay someone off)

Bing is okay as a search engine it is just that rarely use because of how Google is tied in with Safari and OSX. Also “Google” has become a common term like Xerox and Kleenex when people are cleaning their Minolta Copier with Scott Tissue

Khaled

Let’s hope Mao doesn’t shout ???. ???. ???. ???.

Tiger

Won’t this in effect turn Microsoft into the equivalent of the RIAA? And we know how much people LOVE the RIAA on the Internet.

mactoid

Reflecting on the “quality” of the “news” from Rupert Murdoch enterprises (FOX being the prime example), I think a deal with Microsoft is a marriage meant to be.

grin

derpassante

When will M$ stop wasting money on failed efforts.  No innovation and always late to the table.

Photodan

Bing is okay as a search engine it is just that rarely use because of how Google is tied in with Safari and OSX. Also ?Google? has become a common term like Xerox and Kleenex when people are cleaning their Minolta Copier with Scott Tissue

The problem isn’t just losing News Corp from Google. It’s that every other media source on the web will want an exclusive deal with someone too. If other search engines want to play along, it will fracture useful content on the Web.

geoduck

At some point would Net Neutrality come into play?

vasic

The loss of traffic to News Corp’s site would be significant (if not even massive). Since Google is the search king, vast majority of search visits come from there. If this were cut off, how much traffic would their sites get, if the only search visitors allowed were Bing users?

sippincider

Personally I think this is a GREAT idea!!

From the article:

News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch have said in the past that Google should be paying them for the right to index their online properties

MS should do both sides of the deal, i.e. pay Google not to index News Corp, AND Mr. Murdoch for the honor OF indexing his sites!  Brilliant!

Make sure the ultimate deal is valued in tens of billions of dollars (enough so MS has to take on at least a few billion in debt).  Ballmer would pay it.

MIke

M$ is digging their own grave with all this evil stuff they do. Their clueless shareholders ask why the youth hate Microsoft and why M$ is seeing as evil. This is why.

computerbandgeek

I would like to see FOX news removed from the internet too! Go Microsoft, and your left-wing agendas!

raspberry

WetcoastBob

Shows how desperate Microsoft is getting.

Under the leadership of a salesman innovation in product is secondary to marketing whatever mediocre product you have.

Reminds me of domestic car dealers, in the ‘70s and ‘80s who thought the way to sell cars was through offering cash rebates instead of talking about the features of the car.  So the Japanese and Koreans took over the market.

IMHO for Microsoft’s sake SB has to go!

gslusher

MS should do both sides of the deal, i.e. pay Google not to index News Corp,

That might bring the Feds in, again.

ipaqrat

This might indicate that NewsCorp is unable to quantify how much of their content earns positive cashflow for the company and their advertisers. Fact is, publishers have ALWAYS taken their chances with earnings. Advertising returns are statistical, at best. always have been, always will be.

With Mr. Murdoch’s attitude already soured towards Google (for reasons he may not be able to substantiate), Microsoft’s offer of hard, quantifiable cash might seem like a lifeline.

Maybe they should block ALL search engines to send the message: “You want to know what’s in WSJ, fine, that’ll be $459 per year.”

Or offer Katherine a couple million to break Walt’s fingers, ‘cuz that boy juz luvz him some macs, he duz.

Brian

Microsoft is so fundamentally monopolistic.  That is pretty much all they have to go on, and it’s sadly seems to be enough for most people.  But hey, they can even buy their way out of a monopoly conviction, so I’m sure they will get away with this, too. 

But I think the court of public opinion has turned on them.  You can’t fool all the people all the time.

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