Exclusive: a new Murdoch plan to save newspapers

Rupert Murdoch has unveiled his latest scheme to save the newspaper industry — and it has nothing to do with pay walls. Last August, Murdoch promised he would begin charging for online content by 2010. “Quality journalism is not cheap,” he said at a news conference. “An industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good journalism.”

Now, Murdoch says he is in talks with Microsoft in the hopes of getting the company to exclusively feature his content on its search engine, Bing. If Microsoft and Murdoch’s News Corp. can settle on a fair price for this content monopoly, Murdoch says he will pull his articles from Google.

How much Microsoft is willing to pay for the right to index Murdoch-owned news could provide an impetus for the industry by placing a concrete value on original content. And apparently, Microsoft is thrilled with the idea — according to the Financial Times, the company has asked other major online news publishers to remove their content from Google, too.

Google seems to be getting the short end of the stick on this one. But maybe someone should tell Murdoch that Bing only has 9.9 percent of the search-engine market share. Who does he think will read his news?

But maybe that’s his point. With his plans to put up pay walls and only offer news to 10 percent of the market, maybe he doesn’t really want people reading at all.

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