Microsoft Corp has had talks with News Corp about a tie up, which would involve News Corp getting paid to take its news websites off Google Inc, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
News Corp, which owns such papers as the Wall Street Journal and the Sun, started the discussions, which were at an early stage, the source said.
News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has said he wants to make people pay for access to his news websites. Other publishers including The New York Times are also searching for ways to charge for news online, convinced that they must not give news through search engines such as Google and Yahoo Inc.
Microsoft has also talked with other online publishers about removing their sites from Google, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the development.
This is all about Microsoft hurting Google's margins, the FT quoted a website publisher, who had been approached by Microsoft.
Microsoft, which relaunched its search engine as Bing this year, has been looking for ways to challenge market leader Google.
Earlier this year, it signed a 10-year global web search partnership with Yahoo, a deal that U.S. and European antitrust regulators are evaluating.
Microsoft could not reached for comment late on Sunday. News Corp declined to comment. The source is anonymous because the talks are not public.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; writing by Paritosh Bansal; Editing Lincoln Feast)