Software giant offered to pay media company to 'de-list' its sites

Microsoft and News Corp in talks over Google boycott

Microsoft has offered to pay News Corporation to have its news sites removed from Google, in an attempt to loosen the internet giant’s grip on the search engine market.

A source told the Financial Times that Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp had initiated the talks with Microsoft, which are at an early stage. Microsoft has reportedly approached other online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google.

One web publisher approached by Microsoft told the FT that the plan “puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them”. They added that the move was “all about Microsoft hurting Google’s margins”.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has previously said that the firm is willing to spend heavily for years in order to make its Bing search engine a major rival to Google.

Several executives of News Corp, which owns publications around the world including The Times and The Sun, have said before that the company is keen to withdraw its articles from Google. Chairman Rupert Murdoch described the search engine as “stealing” the firm’s content, while chief digital officer Jonathan Miller dismissed the value of referrals from the search engine.

“The traffic which comes in from Google brings a consumer who more often than not read one article and then leaves the site,” Miller was quoted as saying earlier this month. “That is the least valuable of traffic to us the economic impact is not as great as you might think. You can survive without it.”

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