Update: 11:15 a.m.: To include comments from Google.
Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon who has long accused Google of ripping off content from his newspapers, said this weekend that his sites may soon disappear from the search engine's listings.
Murdoch is chairman of News Corp., the newspaper, TV, and Internet empire that includes The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, 20th Century Fox, Fox News, and Hulu. He made the comments in an interview late last week with Sky News Australia.
After Murdoch accused Google, Microsoft, and others of "stealing" his company's content, he was asked why he just doesn't pull his Web sites from Google's search results.
"I think we will," Murdoch responded. "But that's when we start charging."
Murdoch and other News Corp. execs have said that they intend to charge readers and viewers. In the past, the company's sites have relied on advertising revenue.
Murdoch made it clear he's no fan of the ad-supported model. "There are no news sites or blog sites making any serious money," he said.
"What's the point of having someone come occasionally who likes a headline they see in Google," Murdoch continued. "The fact is there isn't enough advertising in the world to go around to make all the Web sites profitable. We'd rather have fewer people coming to our Web sites but paying."
When asked why he would buck the trend of offering free content, Murdoch said: "(The public) shouldn't have had it free. I think we've been asleep."
Google has said that it feels obligated to help media companies because it needs their content. That hasn't stopped Murdoch and his staff from continuing to make hostile comments about the search engine. What News Corp. hasn't done much of is follow up with action.
Is News Corp. trying to scare Google into making more concessions? Or is it just afraid to pull the trigger?
On Monday morning, Google responded to Murdoch's quotes in a report by the British publication The Telegraph.
"Publishers put their content on the Web because they want it to be found," Google said in a statement. "Very few choose not to include their material in Google News and Web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don't."