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Microsoft and News Corp To Consider Web Pact?
engine




msg:4030014
 12:47 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Microsoft and News Corp To Consider Web Pact? [ft.com]
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 impetus for the discussions came from News Corp, owner of newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal of the US to The Sun of the UK, said a person familiar with the situation, who warned that talks were at an early stage.

However, the Financial Times has learnt that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.

News Corp and Microsoft, which owns the rival Bing search engine, declined to comment.


 

signor_john




msg:4033592
 5:56 pm on Nov 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Zett, I fail to see how letting Microsoft become the Web's gatekeeper by helping News Corp. and other megacorporations turn it into a TCP/IP equivalent of the cable-TV industry would benefit independent content publishers. Do you seriously believe that Microsoft is going to pay you, me, or other people like us for the privilege of indexing our content? I don't.

In any case, the argument is academic, because Microsoft isn't going to take over the Web, no matter how much you might wish for that to happen. What's more, other search engines (such as Google) aren't going to lose their ability to crawl and index information on the Web just because Rupert Murdoch contacted Microsoft and offered to opt out of Google News in exchange for a handout.

nickreynolds




msg:4033606
 6:25 pm on Nov 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm in the minority but, would this actually change anything for the vast majority of web users. I'm not sure that for most people, the fact that news international websites don't show up in Google, will make much difference to how they search. I wonder if most people would even realise that it was happening. I can only see this making a difference to a smallish niche (maybe finance)

I see this as Murdoch trying to milk Bing's inferiority and at the same time trying to bully Google. I don't see Bng will gain any significant market share through this

aleksl




msg:4033622
 7:41 pm on Nov 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I fail to see how letting Microsoft become the Web's gatekeeper by helping News Corp. and other megacorporations turn it into a TCP/IP equivalent of the cable-TV industry would benefit independent content publishers.

That's actually an interesting point. Faux needs more eyes for their spin...I mean "news". Microsoft controls desktops and browsers, so they have a capability of forcing faux news onto everyone who owns a Windows desktop.

Luckily, we've already learned that owning a gateway doesn't work on the web (AOL).

Microsoft already knows news doesn't pay well on the web - they sold MSNBC in 2005 to NBC, subsidiary of GE, and Slate to Washington Post. But...besides bing don't they need content for msn.com?

willybfriendly




msg:4033673
 9:41 pm on Nov 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I fail to see how letting Microsoft become the Web's gatekeeper by helping News Corp. and other megacorporations turn it into a TCP/IP equivalent of the cable-TV industry would benefit independent content publishers. Do you seriously believe that Microsoft is going to pay you, me, or other people like us for the privilege of indexing our content? I don't.

Why must you generalize to absurdity?

This isn't about "everybody" - it is about large and established media sources that invest significant sums into collecting, writing and disseminating news.

It is not about Mary Jane Normal and her daily blog entries about her cats, kids and laundry.

Nor is it about making MS the gatekeeper of the Internet, or turning the web into Cable TV (although, as I have already pointed out, the Cable TV analogy already holds in many ways, including paying for basic access via one's ISP, and the existence of "pay for view" channels already).

signor_john




msg:4033675
 9:49 pm on Nov 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I see this as Murdoch trying to milk Bing's inferiority and at the same time trying to bully Google. I don't see Bng will gain any significant market share through this

Bing-go. :-)

kaled




msg:4033756
 11:25 pm on Nov 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Two weak companies forming an alliance against a stronger company is standard business practice. Those who are unable to understand that probably shouldn't engage in discussions about big business.

Once again, for Microsoft, this is primarily about bragging rights, however, some of the most popular searches are celebrity-related. If a large portion of that vanished from Google, the effect could be significant.

Kaled.

zett




msg:4033908
 8:33 am on Nov 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I fail to see how letting Microsoft become the Web's gatekeeper by helping News Corp. and other megacorporations turn it into a TCP/IP equivalent of the cable-TV industry would benefit independent content publishers.

Uh, I don't know where to begin.

First, you yourself claim that the de-listing of News Corp. content from Google (and Google News) has hardly an impact on Google. But then you start to paint pictures of ugly Microsoft becoming "the Web's gatekeeper" (which, by the way, is a role that Google enjoys today)?

Second, of course it helps EVERY publisher when a price tag is put to content that is expensive to licence or to produce. The current price tag is zero as Google (and others) exploit this content for free, in exchange for traffic that does not convert. It adds to the bandwidth bill, but it does not pay. You are right in saying that it's the site owner who has to figure out a way to monetize the content. Which is exactly what Murdoch is doing. He is not satisfied with the ROI of his web properties and now looks for other ways to monetize. That's OK for me.

But I say it again: lifting the price for valuable content from "free" (with traffic as currency) to "something" (with USD as currency) is good for the entire industry. Even for you and me.

Do you seriously believe that Microsoft is going to pay you, me, or other people like us for the privilege of indexing our content? I don't.

No problem with that. =I= could even envision a "Bing quality web access" program that indeed hand-picks content providers and pays for exclusive licences, even for small and medium sized publishers.

It would be a very smart move for Microsoft to sign-up quality publishers big and small exclusively while leaving the dreck of the web to Google. This would then also hurt Google's dominance in search. Sure, this will not happen overnight, but an alliance between Murdoch and Microsoft is a good starting point.

Microsoft isn't going to take over the Web, no matter how much you might wish for that to happen.

Again, your interpretation of my posts is entirely wrong. I do not wish for Microsoft to "take over the Web", and I also agree that this will not happen anytime soon. No, I wish for Google to let go of their monopoly in search and other areas of the Web. I wish for them to become more transparent and care for their partners and customers.

I couldn't care less who does this move, but currently I do see just Microsoft to be able and willing to do that. Ultimately, I want to see some serious competition in various areas of the web, especially in search and advertising.

[edited by: encyclo at 2:03 pm (utc) on Nov. 30, 2009]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

signor_john




msg:4034357
 1:40 am on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Huffington Post has just published an article titled "Why Newspapers Won't Get Rich Shunning Google [huffingtonpost.com]." It covers a lot of the points that have been discussed here, and it offers some quotes from media executives (and the odd tidbit or two, such as the fact that THE WALL STREET JOURNAL buys AdWords on Google SERPs) that may come as a surprise to those who think the news industry hates Google.

kaled




msg:4034522
 11:42 am on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's not about getting rich, it's about not getting poorer. The only point of interest in that article is confirmation that Microsoft is indeed talking to multiple media companies. Of course, companies like MS always maintain contact with the media, so it might mean nothing, however, if it means anything, it is that MS is interested in a deal of this sort.

Kaled.

signor_john




msg:4034716
 5:56 pm on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's not about getting rich, it's about not getting poorer.

Unfortunately, many news companies will get poorer (even with free traffic from Google and other search engines) because they're now competing globally instead of owning local monopolies. A deal between Microsoft and Rupert Murdoch, or between Microsoft and a handful of other media partners, won't halt the structural changes that are taking place (or have already taken place) in the news industry. Big brands are more important than ever.

Case in point: NYTimes.com has far more readers than all the printed editions of THE NEW YORK TIMES ever did, and many of those readers are people who used to read the WIDGET CITY POST or the YOKELVILLE DAILY NEWS.

Like it or not, there may not be a WIDGET CITY POST or a YOKELVILLE DAILY NEWS 10 years from now, just as there's no longer a NEW YORK WORLD-TELEGRAM, a ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, or a CHICAGO DAILY NEWS. Consolidation and elimination of marginal brands were happening in the news industry long before anybody heard of Microsoft or Google.

Samizdata




msg:4034865
 9:23 pm on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Mr Murdoch has been speaking on this subject again, telling the US Federal Trade Commission that aggregation is theft and that there is "no such thing as a free news story".

[guardian.co.uk...]

Paradoxically, the above "news story" is free (but there's no sign of it on the Google aggregator).

Of course, it may qualify as propaganda rather than news.

...

physics




msg:4034883
 9:41 pm on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Adriana Huffington, one of the 'new media' publishers, has an interesting and amusing commentary on Murdoch's views [huffingtonpost.com...]


So now sites that aggregate the news have become, in the words of Rupert Murdoch and his team, "parasites," "content kleptomaniacs," "vampires," "tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internets," and, of course, thieves who "steal all our copyright."

It's the news industry equivalent of "your mama wears army boots!" Although, not quite as persuasive.


signor_john




msg:4034983
 11:26 pm on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ms. Huffington's commentary is amusing, especially in the part where she lists News Corp. properties that do exactly what Rupert Murdoch is complaining about. :-)

kaled




msg:4035058
 1:10 am on Dec 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

If biological metaphors apply then the relationship between search engines and websites should be one of mutually beneficial symbiosis. For the majority of websites, this is probably how things work. However, for news websites, the relationship is less clear.

Newspapers are an old and successful business. However, so far, no one has managed to find a way to trade news profitably on the internet. The only reason newspapers have websites is because other newspapers have websites and no one wants to be left behind. If they all pulled out simultaneously, the business model would be restored (except for the loss of small adds). Similarly, if they all went down sensibly-priced subscription route, a reasonable business model would be restored. Equally, if they all do a deal with Microsoft, the business model may look a little rosier (depending on the details).

The common factor in these improving scenarios is that all competing newpapers must move together. If they do that, then almost any move should prove at least moderately successful.

Kaled.

decaff




msg:4035192
 7:13 am on Dec 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

nothing new here...MS has been "buying" there way into markets for years (from their very early start with the Operating system they purchased from the guy who turned down IBM)...

News Corp content (editorial bent) isn't exactly all that digestible to begin with anyways...

"If Microsoft and News Corp go ahead with this they will be shooting themselves in the foot. They will be portrayed as the nasty big bullies (and they are) trying to crush the small guy."

Google is hardly small anymore...they have significant resources, technology, market position to counter just about any move by rivals...and besides..they are constantly innovating and developing new market pathways...etc...

signor_john




msg:4036212
 3:35 pm on Dec 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

The only reason newspapers have websites is because other newspapers have websites and no one wants to be left behind. If they all pulled out simultaneously, the business model would be restored (except for the loss of small adds). Similarly, if they all went down sensibly-priced subscription route, a reasonable business model would be restored. Equally, if they all do a deal with Microsoft, the business model may look a little rosier (depending on the details).

You could just as easily say "If all the dairies in the U.S. got together and refused to sell to supermarkets and convenience stores, they'd be back in the home-delivery business with milkmen leaving bottles on doorsteps." But that won't happen, just as the notion of newspapers forming a cartel to bring back the good old days won't happen. Newspapers are in the news business, not the ink-on-pulp-delivered-to-the-doorstep business, and even if they did form a cartel and abandon the Web en masse, they'd just be replaced by other Web news organizations.

Fact is, the processes of news production and distribution have changed, and local monopolies on text news have disappeared in a global 24x7 news economy. Inevitably, there will be a shakeout in the news business, just as there have been shakeouts (accompanied by consolidation) in other industries such as car manufacturing, brewing, and farming. In my own metropolitan area, the daily newspapers have decreased in circulation and editorial quality, but local weeklies and biweeklies--and their Web sites--are doing a better job than ever before. Times change, and some businesses evolve while others die. Handouts from Microsoft and fantasies about mass boycotts of the Web by newspaper publishers won't keep evolution from taking its course.

kaled




msg:4036505
 9:44 pm on Dec 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I take it you've made millions over the years investing in stocks and shares with the help of your trusty Crystal Ball.

Microsoft doesn't give money away, if they sign up the news media, it will be pure hard-nosed business - you just don't understand that it could actually be good for all concerned (even the public would not be significantly inconvenienced).

Kaled.

signor_john




msg:4036716
 4:26 am on Dec 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Microsoft doesn't give money away, if they sign up the news media, it will be pure hard-nosed business - you just don't understand that it could actually be good for all concerned (even the public would not be significantly inconvenienced).

Microsoft won't sign up the news media; it may sign up some news media. There's a big difference between the two. And you're right about the public not being inconvenienced, because for the most part, they're unlikely to notice.

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