"Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp. over a plan that would involve the media company being paid to 'de-index' its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry," The Financial Times reports.
As the FT adds:
Microsoft's interest is being interpreted as a direct assault on Google because it puts pressure on the search engine to start paying for content.
News Corp. -- the global giant run by Rupert Murdoch -- includes The Wall Street Journal among its holdings. At the Journal's website this morning, it's being reported that the company "has held discussions with Microsoft Corp. about a partnership that could result in News Corp. removing its newspaper content from Google Inc.'s search engine while continuing to feature it on Microsoft's online properties, according to people familiar with the matter."
At another News Corp. publication, Barron's, the Tech Trader Daily blog wonders whether Murdoch just figured out "how to save the newspaper industry".
Boing Boing's Rob Beschizza writes that "it's easy to believe that (Microsoft) may spew senseless riches into publishers' pockets, radically distorting the news market, just to spite Google."
At Tech Crunch, Erick Schonfeld says that:
(Microsoft search engine) Bing can't buy all the news, it can only buy certain brands. If Bing can somehow become the only place you can find news results and working links to the Wall Street Journal and other top papers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the LA Times, for instance, that would be a big reason to switch for a lot of folks. But it's not clear how much Bing would have to pay the news companies of the world for them to give up all the traffic Google sends them in return for a fraction of that traffic and some cash.