Murdoch is making news again. He wants to "unfriend" Google and friend Microsoft and its search engine Bing.
I have followed Rupert Murdoch and his search for Web grail. What does he want? He wants more money for his news services. His empire is so vast that one can only link to it from Wikipedia, while Wiki lists his personal fortune at four billion and falling. He's still the biggest online and offline game-changer to reckon with.
Bing came to my attention because it's a Microsoft brand. I held Microsoft stocks at the time and was hoping for a merger with Yahoo! because I also owned a few shares of that corporation. It never happened. The talks between Yahoo! and Microsoft never got past first base. What was Yahoo! thinking? When there was no consummation between the two giants Yahoo! stocks tanked famously. Then one day I noticed some Web site hits directed by Bing. That piqued my interest. So, I set Bing as my search engine to compare the difference. It did not work. I am still a diehard Googler.
Enter the 2008 market meltdown and the election of Barack Obama. The stock market meltdown shut down many businesses and cost many jobs, some which have never come back. And now President, Barack Obama has the happy job of overseeing an economy at 10% unemployment. We the people don't like that. One of the industries hardest hit was newspapers and news services. The hard copy of a newspaper is hardly worth the paper it is printed on. No one is buying it. Instead they are directing themselves to sites like the Huffington Post, CNN, Time, Reuters, and online new services that do not charge for their information.
But as we all know nothing is free, even for a hinterland blogger, lost in the blogosphere save for engines like Google. It is not free to journalists who host a major online magazine or a major news-post. About the only way it is actually "free" is if you do not own a computer and you walk to your local library, wait in line (with some homeless folks), use their computers and servers, then go online! That's about as free as it gets.
So I don't get free. Many Web sites have very high traffic volume yet still do not turn a profit or let their operators quit their day jobs. So, with or without the Bing search-engine changes money made — especially for those with huge numbers in the form of steady traffic, large cadre of bloggers, credentialed writers and famous contributors. If the changes Murdoch seeks become reality major Web sites will survive. The big guys will fend for themselves, offset costs, turn a pretty profit via ad revenue, and have the capital to pay for links to online news. It was Murdoch (he was not alone) who decided that the "free" business model was not working. He told his people to talk Bing and freeze out Google. Murdoch is now making news and seeking to change online news distribution as we know it.
The calculus goes something like this: 1) Microsoft would unlink or "de-index" the news from Google search engines. 2) Bing would gain what Google lost. 3) Microsoft (or Murdoch) would seek annual fees or a pay-for-link use from blogs big and small. 4) He would stop the "stealing" from his vast news empire. 5) Bloggers would take the mark of the beast in their hands — just kidding. 6) Even though research shows that this shift in surfing will affect only about 5% of the whole pie that Murdoch should still make his move.7) Murdoch gets his way and nothing changes on the surface of cyberspace.
Murdoch and Microsoft are still talking Google shutout. Bing and Microsoft would gain what Google loses. What's more, Murdoch believes that he will staunch the online bleeding of his content, especially when sites use short quotes and then link back to the source, and they have paid nada for this information. What do you think? Will Murdoch have his way with the Net? And will this change everything — effectively ending Net neutrality?