Murdoch and Microsoft on brink of major news deal

23 Nov 2009

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is about to do a deal with Microsoft’s Bing search engine whereby the Seattle software giant will pay Murdoch not to put his news on Google’s search engines.

The move gives fresh impetus to threats that Murdoch has been voicing in recent weeks over who pays for the news.

The global recession has hit the newspaper industry hard, and, along with plummeting advertising, the rise of the internet means many readers who could be buying newspapers are getting their news for free via news aggregators like Google.

Payment wall

Incensed, Murdoch has threatened to build a payment wall around many of his newspapers’ websites based on the success of his Wall Street Journal’s payment model.

It is understood that Murdoch and Microsoft are in talks about removing News Corp newspapers from Google’s news aggregation system and that Bing would pay him for the privilege.

It is believed Microsoft is in similar negotiations with other newspaper groups.

If so, and if a number of newspapers were to move to Microsoft, it could be seen as a significant move by the software giant to hurt Google’s vast advertising margins.

But ultimately, would this manoeuvring enable newspaper publishers like Murdoch to extract value from the content they pay so dearly to create in the first place?

The debate continues.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Rupert Murdoch.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years