News Corp. Stirs Pot in Threat to Cut Exclusive Deal with Microsoft

News Corp. potentate Rupert Murdoch supposedly has been pondering a delisting of his company’s news content from Google’s search network.

Moreover, according to reports, Murdoch has been considering an exclusive relationship that would see News Corp’s content be searchable and available only on Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Apparently Microsoft would pay for the privilege, but nobody knows how much.

In fact, not much is known about details related to Murdoch’s prospective flight from Google and toward Microsoft. That’s because it’s an idea that hasn’t been fully developed.

It hasn’t been fully developed because Murdoch is testing the waters. I don’t think he has made a decision to throw in his lot with Microsoft — not yet, and perhaps not ever. What he does want, however, is a better deal from Google. Like many publishers, he’d like a bigger cut of news-related advertising-search revenue, especially from Google, which remains the runaway web-search leader despite Microsoft’s rebranded and revitalized efforts under the Bing moniker.

Murdoch is known to be obdurate, but he didn’t build a vast media empire by being thick as a brick. He knows that Google is the search leader, that his striking an exclusive deal with Microsoft won’t shift the balance of power appreciably in the search world, and that his news properties would likely suffer more than Google would from any scorched-earth tactics he might choose to employ.

The News Corp. chieftain is stirring the pot, hoping Google comes into the kitchen to see what’s cooking. The problem is, most of his firm’s content isn’t irreplaceable. Google would like to be able to index it, sure, but Google could live without News Corp.

How would News Corp. — in a world where more and more people consume their news online — fare without Google?

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