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Kai Ryssdal: If you have used the new search engine from Microsoft, Bing, you know it has something that Google doesn’t have: really pretty pictures on its home page. But Bing may soon have something else that Google doesn’t. Something a good deal more valuable, too — The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and other content that’s owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
There are reports today that Microsoft’s trying to do a deal with News Corp. Nothing merger or acquisition-like. But quite possibly bigger. Microsoft would pay News Corp to keep its content on Bing and off Google. Joel Rose reports now on the latest round in the never-ending search wars.
JOEL ROSE: Rupert Murdoch has made no secret of his disdain for Google and other search engines that link to content for free. Here’s how he described them earlier this month in an interview with Sky News Australia, part of his vast media empire.
RUPERT Murdoch: The people who just simply pick up everything and run with it, and steal our stories. We say they steal our stories; they just take them.
Now Murdoch may take them back. News Corp is reportedly in talks to give Bing exclusive access to its content for a price and “de-list” that content from Google.
Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk says the deal could be a coup for Microsoft.
SHAR VanBoskirk: A way to kinda show that they’re serious about search, a way to steal some momentum from Google, and a way to drive traffic to Bing.com.
Neither company would comment on the reports. But critics think such a deal could hurt News Corp more than it hurts Google. Sure, News Corp might collect a hefty fee from Microsoft. But News Corp’s Web sites would lose the traffic they get from Google.
Here’s Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker.
Gabriel Stricker: The value that we view ourselves providing to news publishers is basically the traffic we send from Google news and Web search to them, on the order of about 100,000 clicks every minute.
Those clicks translate into millions of dollars in advertising revenue for News Corp, and millions in search revenue for Google. It seems that Rupert Murdoch may be willing to accept less traffic to keep Google from making money off his content for free.
I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.
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