SANTA MONICA, California: The hoary old conundrum - what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? - is currently under test in a bout of arm-wrestling between Google and News Corporation's social networking website MySpace.

Had the opposing collectives of dudes not been looking over their shoulders at the moneymen who now rule their respective roosts, Tom, Chris, Sergey and Brin would doubtless have settled the dispute over a game of pool.

But, alas, the corporate accountants and lawyers, having sniffed the heady scent of billions of ad dollars ready to float down into their outstretched hands, are preparing for battle.

The $900 million (€693.96m; £457.01m) online deal struck between the cyber colossi last summer [WARC News: 09-Aug-06] gave NewsCorp the right to use Google's search technology on MySpace, at the same time featuring Google-brokered ads.

NewsCorp's share of the resultant ad revenues would be a minimum of $900 million over a three-year period - a situation known to London's Cockneys as a "nice little earner".

That deal remains intact - for the time being.

But, like Oliver Twist, NewsCorp wants more. Specifically the right to enter into similar deals with other sites, especially eBay - a prospect that leaves Google distinctly unenthused.

Until the issue of exclusivity is settled it seems uncertain if the present deal will run its full term, let alone be renewed in the summer of 2009.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff