Friday, 27 November 2009

Microsoft and News Corp deal

Microsoft is set to pay News Corp. for exclusive rights to index their content online. Assuming that Google "plays nice" and vanishes all News Corp. content, does this work out well for Murdoch? Well, for that to happen, users would need to care where they get their news, not just whether it's relevant. If I go searching Google for news, as I do now, the only difference when News Corp. disappears is that they will never get any ad revenue.

There are plenty of other places I could end up besides the Lands of Murdoch (for instance, the taxpayer-funded ABC) so I don't see this as a foolproof way to force users to pay for News Corp. content. Rather, it's more like a foolproof way to cheat yourself out of advertising revenue in favour of an ultimately self-defeating lump sum.

If Murdoch knows that's what he's doing, then really he's trying to cash out of the news business while the getting is good, and Microsoft is buying in to temporarily spite Google. Then, once News Corp. crumbles, broke and obscure, everything goes back to normal except that Murdoch doesn't bother us any more. Who knew evil was self-implosive?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's probably not going to happen that way.
PPS - I guess we'll just wait and see.


littlemissrandom said...

I read about this as well.

I understand the news industry's concern about getting revenue for their product in an age where information is virtually free. Why buy a newspaper for yesterday's news when you can get today's for free online?

But I thought exactly what you've written - people aren't going to pay for something they can get for free elsewhere. Murdoch's plan will only work if every other news vendor in the world jumps on board behind him and we all have to subscribe to a news outlet for our news.

I mostly read the ABC online, so it's not really going to matter if I don't have access to News Corp's stuff. But if the ABC got behind it, I would have to consider where I wanted to get my news.

As for Microsoft v Google ... Google had me at Gmail. As far as I'm concerned, there is no competition, as far as online technology goes.

If Google can come up with a user interface that is more user friendly (and cheaper) than Windows, then it will REALLY be on now. (Insert picture of werewolf fighting a unicorn under a full moon. Man I wish I'd bought that shirt.)

John said...

Google is working on a Chrome operating system, but it's not exactly going to be a Windows-killer. It might be good for netbooks, but the word is they plan on licensing it only for devices without hard drives (among other hardware requirements).

Murdoch's plan to suck money from the online world like a starving vampire is not going to work. At all. It's geared towards "saving" a business model that's become obsolete in the age of the internet.

I think we do still need authoritative sources for news online, but trying to make everyone pay when other trustworthy sources are free is madness. I predict the profits from this deal will be mostly what Microsoft pays, not consumers.