News Corp.'s Push For Exclusive Search With Microsoft Generates Buzz

We can't imagine the government staying out of this one. Microsoft has reportedly been in discussions with News Corp about "de-indexing" its news sites from Google's search engine, and going with Microsoft's Bing search engine exclusively.

"It ties in with (News Corp. head Rupert) Murdoch's seeming hatred of Google and its alleged news content-stealing behavior as a news aggregator--and it would provide News Corp. with an elegant way out of the strange position it's currently in where it complains about Google but lets the engine's robots into the sites to sniff the news for listing," writes Fast Company.

According to the Financial Times, News Corp. initiated the talks, which are still at an "early stage." Yet, the British paper reports that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google.

One publisher approached by Microsoft, according to the Financial Times, said that the plan "puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them."

Citing people familiar with the deal, the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal wrote: "Among the most thorny issues, one of these people said, are the terms under which Microsoft would compensate News Corp., if at all, to feature its news content."

Surprisingly, AOL's Daily Finance blog insists that "such an arrangement is legal and possible," explaining that "Google allows sites to opt-out of the index and even explains how to do this on its website ... Whether the maneuver would actually work is a far trickier question."

Still, some observers are saying that freezing out Google would have zero effect on the search giant, but might harm the newspapers by reducing their traffic.

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