Google slams Microsoft for ‘naked corporate opportunism’
Microsoft and Google traded barbs Friday over proposals to require tech giants to pay news publishers for content, as lawmakers discussed challenges to the news industry at a House hearing. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also in the hot seat as a unionization vote is in progress at a warehouse in Alabama, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) inviting the billionaire executive to testify at a hearing next week about inequality. Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO slammed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for backing the unionization push at the plant while simultaneously opposing a federal bill that would offer protections for employees trying to unionize.
GOOGLE VS. MICROSOFT: Google on Friday slammed Microsoft in a blog post, accusing the rival company of backing proposals for tech giants to pay news publishers for content for self-serving purposes.
“We also believe that this important debate should be about the substance of the issue, and not derailed by naked corporate opportunism … which brings us to Microsoft’s sudden interest in this discussion,” Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, wrote in a blog post.
The post was published before Friday morning’s House antitrust subcommittee hearing about the media. Microsoft President Brad Smith testified at the hearing endorsing a bill a bipartisan group of members reintroduced earlier this week, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow news outlets to negotiate collectively with tech platforms over the distribution of their content.
Microsoft has also endorsed an Australian proposal that would force tech giants to pay publishers and subject the tech companies to mandatory price arbitration. Smith has urged the U.S. to adopt a similar policy.
Walker said Microsoft’s “self-serving claims” were made “in an effort to undercut a rival.”
He also questioned the timing of Microsoft’s push to embrace the policy proposals, noting it comes after Microsoft acknowledged its systems were exposed as part of what has become known as the SolarWinds hack.