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Is Murdoch Foxing His Way Into Search?

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-08-11

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The Internet rumor mill is working overtime as forums light up with speculation about Fox Interactive Media's apparent interest in acquiring a search engine among other portals, especially after News Corp.'s $580 million purchase of Intermix Media, the owner of MySpace.com.

Which lesser-known search engine do you think would be the best acquisition for Fox? Discuss at WebProWorld.

Murdoch is reported to be expressing regret in Fox's "benign neglect" of Internet opportunities and expects FIM to correct that neglect by encompassing all of the major media corporation's Internet development.

When questioned about News Corp's offering of $3 billion dollars to acquire Internet telephone company Skype, Murdoch put those rumors to rest by saying the company wasn't interested in selling. He did say, however, that Skype was "not the only alternative."

The buzz now is not so much about telephony services or highly trafficked social domains, but, as this thread asked, "who's next?"

By Murdoch's own admission of "neglect" of Internet opportunities, he may be recognizing (albeit a bit late) the lucrative potential of search engines, especially since the recent explosion of Google stock as it consistently reports billion dollar quarters.

The question is not so much will they delve into the search market, but when and who?

Murdoch said FIM was in "advanced negotiations" for controlling interest in a search company, but is more interested in lower-priced upstarts.

"We'll be looking at additional assets at modest prices," he said.

So, who's next?

That question has kept the forums hot with guesses including InfoSpace, Mamma.com, Snap.com, LookSmart, and Blinx.tv.

But the general consensus seems to be that IceRocket is the best strategic acquisition as young company with a revered blog search tool that could attract high advertising dollars.

"IceRocket, smallish, hungry and does a lot of what FIM will need including multimedia," staci (screen name) at PaidContent.org said, even as she thought maybe the company would prefer to grow a little before selling.

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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