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Murdoch: Google is mortal and together we can kill it

Or at least tame it

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An exclusive deal between, say, News Corp and Bing creates a little scarcity. But unfortunately for Microsoft and Murdoch, it simply doesn't create enough - there isn't enough value in the audience. Like every content company, Murdoch would love someone big, rich and foolish to hand over millions for licensing the material exclusively. But since Murdoch's primary goal here is to make buying the newspapers more attractive, it would devalue his own planned tollbooth.

And for Microsoft, there isn't enough to merit paying out many millions to media companies - once surfers have the site bookmarked, they know where to go. Or can guess. So it could fund media companies simply to spite Google, until common sense kicked in.

Search engines and media companies are more likely to collaborate on building revenue platforms, but they remain uneasy partners. In publishing, you want to know more than Google does about your readers - so you can package that and deliver it to the advertisers, and be in control of your own destiny. Comments by Telegraph digital supremo Ed Roussel that newspapers should outsource everything except the vital job of rewriting press releases and pinching Fark stories [Did he really say that? - Ed] show how far apart Murdoch and his digital rivals are.

Really it's a cultural divide. The web divisions at media companies - who can speak fluent "clayshirky", quote from Freakonomics and are invariably Twittering at a New Media conference - haven't brought home the goods; media company boards and shareholders now see them more as part of the problem than as the solution.

So if others follow Murdoch's advice, leaving Google to collect the world's Tweets and trackbacks, it's hard to imagine how the triumphant web utopianism could ever return. ®

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