February 11th, 2021
Microsoft’s take on Australia’s proposed law is unsurprising — of course, they’d be eager to impose an unworkable levy on a rival and increase their market share.
But in its eagerness, Microsoft makes numerous claims that have been thoroughly and independently debunked.
We have long been committed to supporting high-quality content on the web. Our issue is absolutely not with paying news organizations — we’ve done this for many years. Today Google News Showcase is paying publishers, and supporting local journalism, in Australia and over a dozen countries. Through these partnerships, we are paying significant amounts to support news organizations large and small — with more to come.
But we and others have pointed to significant concerns with the proposed Australian law while proposing reasonable amendments to make it work. The issue isn’t whether companies pay to support quality content; the issue is how. The law would unfairly require unknown payments for simply showing links to news businesses, while giving, to a favored few, special previews of search ranking. Those aren’t workable solutions and would fundamentally change the Internet, hurting the people and businesses who use it. But there are better ways, and we’re committed to making progress.
Don’t take our (or Microsoft’s) word for it. Here’s what others are saying, from a former Australian Prime Minister, to the Business Council of Australia, to the inventor of the web.