UPDATED Microsoft has been locked in secret talks with Rupert Murdoch over the weekend as the pair try to work out a Google shafting deal over news searches. Apparently Redmond is offering Murdoch cash in exchange for him pulling his news websites from Google's search.
Sources claim that the talks took place after News Corp executives approached Microsoft suggesting a deal.
As reported by TG Daily earlier, Murdoch's News Corp is incandescent with rage that people are reading news on the web without paying for it.
Murdoch wants the world to pay for the privilege of seeing his quality newspapers and magazines online.
Microsoft figures that if Google's spiders can't find Murdoch's sites, they will be forced to go to Bing instead.
Struan Bartlett, managing director of UK news aggregation site NewsNow, says it's hard to see why the move would be in either News International's or Microsoft's interests.
"A newspaper that charges others for linking to their articles is undermining the credibility of their own news," Bartlett told TG Daily. "By trying to sell linking rights to the highest bidder, the signal they're sending is, 'money is our primary motive, not the public interest'. Similarly, by paying a newspaper to block other search engines, Microsoft would be undermining Bing's credibility at a critical point in Bing's life. As soon as you introduce financial relationships between news providers and search engines, how do you know you can trust their search results anymore?"
Continues Bartlett: "And the concept of 'exclusive linking rights' is entirely theoretical and it's hard to see how it could be enforced. For example, instead of links to News International articles appearing on Google, blogger posts linking to the most interesting articles may well appear instead.
"Before the Internet, newspapers had easy pickings in the news market for years. Now the Internet has broadened the market, they really need to rethink their focus if they want to stay relevant. Charging for linking is just grasping at straws."