Microsoft takes aim at Google′s search engine business | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 24.11.2009
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Business

Microsoft takes aim at Google's search engine business

The computer giant Microsoft, has launched an offensive to knock Google from what has long been its unassailable spot at the top of the search engine charts.

Google logo on a chair against a big google logo backdrop

Microsoft wants a turn in the Google seat

There is no love, but plenty of market share, lost between Microsoft and Google. Too much for the likes of Microsoft, which is reportedly in discussions with Rupert Murdoch on the possibility of using his News Corp media conglomerate to help bridge the gap.

Both the Financial Times and the Reuters news agency report that the two parties are considering a plan under which Microsoft would pay Murdoch to block Google users from accessing content on his sites.

"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," the Financial Times said.

Part of a bigger picture

Screenshot of Bing search engine

Microsoft aims to put more 'zing' into its Bing search engine

The idea reportedly came from Murdoch, who has openly accused Google of stealing from his newspaper empire, which includes publications such as the Sun, the Times and the Wall Street Journal.

But the Financial Times said Microsoft had also approached other major online publishers to convince them that they should move their sites out of Google's reach.

Reuters said it was early days in the talks with News Corp, but if such an alliance were to come to pass, it would kill two birds with one stone.

Not only would it give Microsoft, which recently launched the Bing search engine, the chance to wrestle some market share out of Google's clutches, but it would also provide News Corp with income for its content, making it less dependent upon advertising revenue.

Google screenshot

For many Google users, the best things in life really are free

You get what you pay for

As it stands, Google users can access information on News Corp sites at no cost. But that luxury is not long for this world. Murdoch has already announced his intention to make online readers pay for content on the conglomerate's pages.

And he is not alone in his search for a successful model to charge for internet news. Many publications would gladly embrace a more lucrative transition from the paper to the digital supply of the day's top stories.

Yet for all that, commentators are asking if a union such as the one proposed between Microsoft and News Corp is really the way forward. Although it would likely serve the interests of Bing, it might struggle to convince users that the news they were getting was genuinely without bias.

The head of Germany's Axel Springer media publishing group, Mathias Doepfner, said in an interview on Sunday that the company wanted to begin charging for news on the internet. Doepfner said it would be a great success if the Springer group could get people accustomed to paying for content online within 15 years

Axel Springer AG is one of Europe's largest newspaper companies and publishes the powerful German mass circulation Bild newspaper.

tkw/Reuters/dpa/AFP
Editor: Sam Edmonds

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