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News Corp, Microsoft hold talks on locking out Google

Mon Nov 23 15:59:57 EST 2009
Mon Nov 23 04:59:57 UTC 2009

LONDON, Nov 23 AFP - Microsoft has held talks with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp over a possible plan for the software giant to pay the media company to remove its news websites from Google, a report said on Monday.

The plan sets a scene for a battle between search engines for access to websites and puts pressure on search juggernaut Google to start paying for content, the Financial Times said.

"This is all about Microsoft hurting Google's margin," an unnamed source was quoted as saying.

However, the biggest beneficiary of the tussle could be the newspaper industry which has yet to construct a reliable online business model to replace declining newspaper circulation and print advertising revenues.

Murdoch has prompted a fierce debate among media watchers with his accusation that Google is "stealing" from his vast newspaper empire and his threat to block the search engine from accessing its content.

Murdoch has already announced plans to make readers pay to read his newspapers online. Google has said in response that news organisations were free to opt out of being indexed by the search engine.

Microsoft is attempting to chip away at Google's dominance in Web search with its new Internet search engine Bing.