A story in Sunday’s Financial Times is reporting that Microsoft and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. have been holding preliminary talks to pull News Corp. content from Google, and for Bing to then pay a premium for that content. There’s quite a debate around the web on what such a deal would mean for Google, or Bing, for that matter.
Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land doesn’t think it would make a bit of difference. Marc Cuban thinks it’s “smart” and “can work”. Either way, no one thinks that a deal to try to force Google to pay for News Corp. content is going to either make Google pay, or make much difference if it doesn’t, at least not right away.
However, Microsoft knows all about back room deals and how to win in the long haul. Now that Bing is established as a brand, expect the onslaught on Google to continue, and to grow. Even if nothing comes of a News Corp. deal, if Microsoft can portray Google as a bit more evil, if it can begin to sway advertisers over to Bing (as it seems to be doing with local ads), and if it can put Google on the defensive, the Murdoch ploy may be worth it. Forcing search engines to pay for content may not save the newspapers, or bring down Google, but getting behind Murdoch is a no-brainer for Microsoft.