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“Google Has Re-Engineered The Web” Argues Microsoft’s Brad Smith

The spat between Microsoft and Google rages on, with Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith maintaining the argument that Google is monopolising internet advertising.

Smith has said that Google is messing with the idea of the web being an open concept and fair game for all, and that the search giant is crippling content creators’ ability to make money.

These stabs follow on from shots fired by Microsoft earlier this year over whether internet companies need to pay news organisations for the content they re-share.

“The reality is that Google has fundamentally sucked most of the oxygen out of the opportunities for people who create content to actually earn a living through advertising,” said Smith in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It’s interesting to just look at what has happened to what was supposed to be an open web – that was the promise of the internet.”

Google did not comment, instead referring to a blog post written by its Legal Chief, Kent Walker, which accused Microsoft of “reverting to their familiar playbook of attacking rivals and lobbying for regulations that benefit their own interests.”


The debate began over Microsoft’s backing of a law in Australia to force Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. to pay publishers for the value that their stories generate on the internet giants’ digital platforms.

But Microsoft has also lobbied governments in the US and European Union on this issue, with Smith appearing before Congress last month to support legislation that would give news publishers more power to negotiate with technology platforms for payment for content.

Google’s response? That Microsoft was pursuing it out of “naked corporate opportunism.”

The two companies had previously reached a years’-long peace agreement where they refrained from competing directly with one another, enforced by lobbying regulators and lawmakers. This recent battle has brought that to an abrupt end.

Smith says that in 2005, news outlets in the US made close to US$50 billion (about AU$64 billion) in ad sales, but that now the figure has curiously dropped to only US$14 billion (about AU$18 billion).

“Where has all the money gone?” he asked. “Well, it’s very clear where it has gone – in Alphabet’s earnings yesterday they showed that in a single quarter, they had almost $45 billion in digital advertising.

“What Google has fundamentally done is redesigned and re-engineered the web so that if you want to make money from content based on advertising, you have to do it through their exchange, by using their tools and paying money to, and through Google.”

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