UPDATE: So Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) won’t be implementing ACAP after all, at least in the foreseeable future, despite earlier speculation that it could become the first search player to back the publisher-friendly news indexing technology. The company’s lead counsel on intellectual property Tom Rubin told an AOP forum on copyright in London today that ACAP had the “potential to be an important element of more vibrant business models for publishers in the future”. But Rubin told me afterwards that Microsoft currently has “no plans to adopt ACAP into any of our products models”. The door may be somewhat open for the future — Rubin clearly doesn’t think the current robot.txt web crawler technology used index news stories is any good, likening the 15-year-old technology to “putting a Fiat engine in a Ferrari”.
– No free lunch: So no ACAP, but Rubin had much else to say about online newspapers: he says the free, ad-supported online content business model almost every newspaper has adopted has simply not worked. “In the early 1990s, some leading internet pundits… implored content owners to give away content and monetise it through secondary means,” he says. “Well, here we are ten years later bombarded almost daily be announcements of newspaper lay-offs and closures.” For Rubin the evidence is in: the free approach not only doesn’t work, “it has been a disaster for almost all newspapers