Murdoch Must Turn Fleet Street In To Quality Street If He Want Us To Pay


Credit: Sky News

By John Naughton: Rupert Murdoch’s declaration, in an interview with Sky News, that he was thinking of barring Google’s search engine from indexing all of News Corporation’s websites, had a magnificent Canutian ring to it and got the blogosphere in a tizz. Some commentators saw it as an early sign of dementia; others interpreted it as an invitation to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) to do an exclusive deal.

Cory Doctorow, for example, thought Murdoch is “betting that one of Google’s badly trailing competitors can be coaxed into paying for the right to index all of News Corp.’s online stuff if that right is exclusive.

Rupert is thinking that a company such as Microsoft will be willing to pay to shore up its also-ran search tool, Bing, by buying the right to index the fraction of a fraction of a sliver of a crumb of the internet that News Corp (NYSE: NWS) owns”.

The prevailing sentiment however can be summed up as a paradox: nobody thinks that a “screw-you-Google” strategy makes sense, but they assume that Murdoch knows something they don’t, and that the strategy will make sense when all is revealed. In that way, the Digger is rather like Warren Buffett: his past investment record is so good that people are wary of questioning his judgment.

I have no idea what Murdoch’s thinking, but I know what he’s thinking about, and that’s “content”. Everyone’s thinking about it too. Content takes many forms

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..

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