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Microsoft backs away from Murdoch love-in

Not ready to go exclusive? Or not rich enough?

Microsoft does not want to get into bed with Rupert Murdoch after all, with a senior exec telling the FT that Redmond is not interested in securing the Aussie mogul's content for its Bing search engine.

Or at least, Microsoft is not prepared to go exclusive with the hard-nosed Aussie and other media moguls. Not this week, anyway.

Reports last week said that the two firms - who share a common interest in slapping Google - were working on a deal that would lead to News Corp's content only being available through Microsoft's Bing search engine. In exchange for some Microsoft cash, of course.

But Satya Nadella, Microsoft's senior vice-president for online services, told the FT that ringfencing content from Google was "not the thing that would be a benefit to us in the long run."

While she did not comment directly on the putative News Corp deal, she said that getting exclusive-ish access to content was, "not at all a focus for us. We generally are not focused on getting non-Google content."

Which leaves open the question what would be "the thing that would be a benefit to us in the long run."

Nadella's comments came the day after Google tweaked its sort-of pay-per-view system to let publishers limit the amount of their stories users can access through Google news.

It may be that Microsoft balked at the likely cost of securing access to publishers' content.

Google's move may have been looking to cool down Murdoch's anger over the role of search engines in diverting his readers and undermining his ad revenues.

But this small compromise is unlikely to distract Murdoch from his aim of giving Google - and anyone else who looks like them - a sound kicking. ®

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