Google, Microsoft Feud Over Antitrust Issues as Australian Government Passes New Law
Microsoft and Google are blaming the other for large-scale problems. Google and Facebook along with other online giants are currently under pressure from governments and regulators in Australia, the US, the EU, and over their relationship with media organizations.
In this matter, Microsoft has taken the opportunity to criticize Google to advise more regulations targeting the company.
On Friday, after the hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, continued his argument. He told lawmakers that the journalistic outlets have been forced to “use Google’s tools, operate on Google’s ad exchanges, contribute data to Google’s operations, and pay Google money”.
Smith also said “referral traffic from Google has real value to news outlets, it is difficult for them to make money from that traffic because “most of the profit has been squeezed out by Google”, according to a written version of his remarks.
Smith cited Pew Research figures showing that US newspaper ad revenues declined from $49.4 billion (£35bn) in 2005 to $14.3bn in 2018. In the same period, Google’s ad revenues grew from $6.1bn to $116bn.
Recently, Microsoft and Google have sparred in Australia. This comes at the same time when the country’s government is all prepared to pass a law to force online platforms to pay news outlets for their traffic.
While Google has threatened the government to pull out of the country over the law, Microsoft has supported the government’s decision and promptly agreed to follow the new rules. Facebook is also planning to take Google’s place with its Bing search engine.
The Australian government has finally passed a version of the law that has been modified to remove some of its stricter provisions. Meanwhile, both the companies have both cut payment deals with news publishers.
During the same time, Google has wasted no time in accusing and criticizing Microsoft for trying to divert attention away from two major hacking campaigns where they were directly involved.
In the last year’s SolarWinds breach, the hacking group behind the attack used that campaign to invade Microsoft’s systems and targeted some of its customers.
Earlier this month, the hacking group used previously undiscovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange to target organizations. These were the same flaws later being exploited by a score of other attack groups.
Google argued Microsoft’s “newfound interest in attacking us comes on the heels of the SolarWinds attack and at a moment when they’ve allowed tens of thousands of their customers — including government agencies in the US, NATO allies, banks, nonprofits, telecommunications providers, public utilities, police, fire and rescue units, hospitals and, presumably, news organizations — to be actively hacked via major Microsoft vulnerabilities”.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with regulators and news publishers to ensure a thriving and healthy publishing industry,” Walker said in a blog post.