Wendi Deng deserves credit for containing husband Rupert Murdoch's worst impulses. Not only did her fearsome bodyguarding distract the world from hubby's hacking scandal, it's now clear that she preserved a friendship with Google that Murdoch tried to explode.
She's due to give birth next week, but that didn't keep Lucy Southworth Page, wife of secretive Google CEO Larry Page, from accompanying Deng around a recent San Francisco party captured in a series of pictures posted to SFLuxe. The pair were photographed at one another's side in at least two different locations at the bash, which celebrated the release of a film set in 19th century China and distributed by one of Murdoch's companies.
At one point in time, such chumming about wouldn't have been as noteworthy; Deng and Murdoch kept up a friendship with the Pages and Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki, even handing over their DNA to Wojcicki's testing startup 23andme. But then Murdoch and lieutenant Robert Thomson began what New York described as a carefully orchestrated campaign against Google, complete with a code name, "Project Alesia," that referenced a decisive Roman battle against the Gauls. Murdoch and Thomson publicly called Google a thief and parasite and were reportedly poised to sue. The Murdochs, Pages and Brins "are not as close lately, given the heated nature of their conflict," New York said.
Murdoch needs Google more than he would like to admit. A better advertising deal with MySpace might have saved the foundering social network, for example, and it seems News Corp. would also like to extract some sort of rent from the company for the right to index its content.
Which is why it's good for all concerned that News and Google's power couples are apparently back to being at least frenemies. Then again, with a company as crafty as News Corp., you never know. Deng might have given Page some quality face time, but what's going on with the warrior-wife's feet? Those sandals look almost... Roman.