Murdoch’s Move on Google Isn’t Exactly A New Idea
Posted November 25, 2009on:
Kara Swisher does an excellent job today of parsing the various scenarios that flow from Rupert Murdoch’s threat to de-list the Wall Street Journal and the rest of News Corp,’s holdings from Google’s search engine. (What a high wire act: Married to a Google muckety-muck on the one hand, and employed by Murdoch on the other, Swisher still comes off as objective and well reasoned.)
I’ve been watching the whole Murdoch move with equal parts fascination and envy. That’s because back on July 22, at the Fortune Brainstorm Conference, one of my co-workers high up on the business side of Time Inc. ovulated the same brilliant idea. (I am not naming him here because I don’t have his permission.) “We know exactly how much traffic Google refers to us, and down to the penny what it’s worth,” my pal told me at lunch that day. “We could go to Microsoft and see if they’ll guarantee us more if we keep Google from searching us.” I thought it was one of the smartest schemes I had ever heard, but pointed out that it could get expensive for Microsoft fast since it would start a bidding war among big content producers. Why would they open the door to something so potentially expensive to them in the long run? My friend pooh-poohed me.
The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. We’re talking about chump change for Microsoft. Figure $100 million or so for bragging rights to some of the biggest content libraries in the world? That’ll turbo-charge Bing big time.
Needless to say, as far as I know—and note that I’m not privy to the top-floor discussions anyway—my friend’s idea hasn’t gotten anywhere at Time Inc. So far, anyway.
But guaranteed, if Microsoft starts writing checks, it’ll be a somewhat happier holiday season for big media companies.