Google has lashed out at Microsoft for “lobbying for regulations that benefit their own interests” in response to the recent News Media Bargaining Code drama in Australia.
Microsoft made headlines earlier this year when it was revealed Prime Minister Scott Morrison had approached the company about potentially replacing Google in Australia after Google had threatened to withdraw services from Australia if the News Media Bargaining Code was not amended.
As we now know, the relevant changes were made to the legislation and Google has since made deals to pay local publishers for new content.
However, that wasn’t before Microsft’s president Brad Smith took the opportunity to publicly endorse the Australian government’s efforts to regulate Google and urged the US government to consider similar action.
Smith also accused Google of “ignoring the fact that an imbalanced bargaining position has created this disparity in the first place”.
Speaking last week, Google’s SVP of global affairs Kent Walker hit back at Microsoft over the claims.
“We respect Microsoft’s success and we compete hard with them in cloud computing, search, productivity apps, video conferencing, email and many other areas,” Walker said.
“Unfortunately, as competition in these areas intensifies, they are reverting to their familiar playbook of attacking rivals and lobbying for regulations that benefit their own interests.
“They are now making self-serving claims and are even willing to break the way the open web works in an effort to undercut a rival. And their claims about our business and how we work with news publishers are just plain wrong.”
And while the matter of the News Media Bargaining Code in Australia has certainly been a point of contention between the two companies, there are also global tensions at play.
In the US, Microsoft is currently pushing for the government to move forward with the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which – like the News Media Bargaining Code – could help media businesses negotiate payments with tech giants for news content.
Google, meanwhile, has reinforced its commitment to journalism, with Walker stating: “we’ll continue to collaborate with news organizations and policymakers around the world to enable a strong future for journalism. We’re doing a lot to support journalism, and will do much more”.
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