On several occasions over the last few months, News Corp chairman, Rupert Murdoch has been quoted hinting at changes he foresees for his high-profile Web properties. Most notably the Wall Street Journal and its network of sites, Murdoch believes in the paid subscription model for online properties and that aggregation sites like Google News are hurting not only newspapers, but online news sources like his own.
Now it appears that Microsoft is willing to play along, after the Financial Times revealed a potential pact between the two. As obnoxious as it sounds, the deal would center on having WSJ's sites delisted from Google's index, favoring Bing search results instead.
According to the report, Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers, essentially offering a way to monetize by exclusively choosing their search engine over its competitors. This could mean business to newspapers that have struggled so far in bringing the sufficient revenues online to compensate for the decline seen in their standard local newspaper subscriptions.
That said, as much as Microsoft is willing to invest on competing with Google, we see this kind of pact bringing more threat to the openness of the Web than anything else.