Two weeks ago, Rupert Murdoch announced that he would be taking content from his News Corp entities like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post off of Google’s search engines, ostensibly because the man doesn’t know jack about the Internet and can’t tell the difference between a search engine and an aggregator.
But as last night’s news broke that Microsoft, which just launched its own search engine Bing to compete with Google, is in talks with the Australian mogul in the hopes of paying him to remove his listings from its rival, we have to amend our previous statement. Crazy? Yes. Crazy like a fox.
The Financial Times sees Microsoft’s talks with News Corp. as a direct way to hit Google where it hurts: in providing exclusive news results that will make the search engine a necessity to readers.
Google’s U.K. director was flippant, saying the company didn’t need News Corp.’s content to make a profit. “Economically it’s not a big part of how we generate revenue,” Matt Brittin told the FT.
The Financial Times comes out thinking that this deal may usher in a new way for newspapers to make money by turning exclusive contracts with search engines into a bidding war. But if Google’s statement is not a bluff, we doubt Microsoft has enough revenue to steal away every major news org from Google. After all, publishers still rely on Google for a vast majority of their traffic, which drives advertisers to buy space on their sites.
Bing may be able to offer some money to bigger publishers, but we doubt it’s a long-term solution for businesses to make money, especially if they are taking a gamble with the loss of their Google traffic. Then again, if too many major news organizations pull out of Google (for instance, news wires like the Associated Press and Reuters) then Microsoft and Murdoch may have called Google’s bluff and we could be witnessing the advent of a new model where online content isn’t paid for by the readers, but by the giant Web entities that aggregate news for them.
Read More: Microsoft and News Corp eye web pact —Financial Times