Microsoft has held talks with News Corporation over plans that would see the Rupert Murdoch-owned company being paid to stop its newspaper content being indexed by Google, the Financial Times has reported.
Microsoft’s interest could be seen as an attack on Google and put more pressure on it to start paying for newspaper content.
Rupert Murdoch hasn’t been shy with his intention to block search engines – and Google in particular – from indexing the content of his newspaper websites.
It still remains to be seen whether newspaper businesses would be able to make up the losses in ad revenue generated through the web traffic created for them by Google.
Talks are at an early stage, a source familiar with the situation told the FT, after the owner of the Wall Street Journal, Times and Sun newspapers was the impetus for discussions.
Microsoft is believed to have also held talks with other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.
News Corp and Microsoft, which owns Bing a rival search engine to Google, declined to comment to the FT.