Google and Microsoft in Australia: Ripping the Fabric of Some of the Internet?

February 8, 2021

Australia wants Google to pay for news. Microsoft wants more traffic and advertising revenue. Australia? The front lines of the battle for the Internet? “Microsoft Offers To Break The Web In A Desperate Attempt To Get Somebody To Use Its Widely-Ignored Bing Search Engine” and learned:

The worsening situation over upload filters has obscured the other bad idea of the EU Copyright Directive: the so-called “link tax”, which would require large Internet companies like Google to pay when they use even small amounts of news material. One worrying development in this area is that the idea has spread beyond the EU. As Techdirt reported, Australia is bringing in what amounts to a tax on Google and Facebook for daring to send traffic to legacy news organizations — notably those of Rupert Murdoch.

Yep, from the European Union to Australia the fabric of the Internet is under pressure. Google is concerned, upset even. But Microsoft:

in a desperate attempt to get someone to use its still largely-ignored search engine Bing, Microsoft is apparently willing to throw the Web under the bus. It’s an incredibly short-sighted and selfish move. Sure, it’s legitimate to want to take advantage of a rival’s problems. But not to the extent of causing serious harm to the very fabric of the Web, the hyperlink.

Links under assault? A push to investigate technology monopolies in the US? The SolarWinds’ misstep which reminds one that security is a misty concept? Political turmoil? Covid?

Now links.

Who knew that monetizing links would do “harm to the fabric of the Web”? Quick questions? What’s happening in China and Russia? Whose Internet? Perhaps the Internet has already morphed and the skirmish in Australia may be less than it seems? The tension seems to be removed from the growth sectors for online services? In fact, the dust up seems almost quaint.

Threats, saber rattling, and the effort to preserve the online past are not easily TikTok-able. That could be a problem for the firms and publishers not in the big growth game.

Stephen E Arnold, February 8, 2021


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