Microsoft backs move for tech giants paying for news

Microsoft supports the Australian government’s new payment laws to compensate media outlets for news stories published and shared on digital platforms. The software giant now suggests that more countries around the world should follow Australia’s lead.

The government of Australia recently introduced new regulations that would require companies like Google and Facebook to make payments towards media outlets. For obvious reasons, both Facebook and Google have opposed the move. However, Microsoft is willing to fill the gap if Google decides to withdraw its search engine in Australia.

Microsoft’s call for other countries to follow Australia’s lead comes after several people questioned them whether they would back such as move. In response, Microsoft asserted that its stance would remain the same if similar laws are proposed in countries like the US and Canada.

“The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith wrote in a blog post.

All eyes are now on US President Joe Biden to see whether he would follow Australia’s lead, or whether his stance would remain the same as his predecessor Trump, who opposed such a proposal. However, Microsoft believes that the US should back Australia’s move and adopt a similar approach in the country, supporting free press.

That said, big tech companies believe these new regulations are unworkable. Many are reportedly planning to withdraw some of their key services offered in Australia if the govt enforced these new regulations. Interestingly, these services would include Google’s search engine, which accounts for 94 percent of the country’s search market. Meanwhile, Facebook said publicly that if these new laws are passed, it would block Australian users from sharing news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms.