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Microsoft's Partnership With European News Publishers Threatens Facebook and Alphabet

By Keith Noonan - Updated Feb 22, 2021 at 3:15PM

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The alliance could spell trouble for some of Microsoft's top tech rivals.

Microsoft (MSFT -0.23%) announced on Monday that it's teaming up with Europe's four largest media-lobbying groups to help rework how news stories are shared and monetized on the continent. The move follows Australia's introduction of a system that requires large tech companies to pay money to news sites that feature media on their platforms.

The recently formed coalition will push for similar stipulations to be included in the European Union's upcoming legislation to put tighter regulations on Big Tech. If Microsoft and its allies are successful, and similar standards are implemented in the EU, this reworking would pose significant challenges for Alphabet and Facebook

Global telecommunications network represented by red lines.

Image source: Getty Images.

Facebook responded to Australia's new system by blocking users in the region from posting news stories on its namesake social media platform. However, the move has drawn criticism, and implementing this solution on a wider scale could create significant problems for the social media leader. It may be forced to adapt and agree to pay news outlets if more regions introduce systems similar to what's being done in Australia. 

Alphabet's Google division already has financial partnerships with hundreds of news outlets across Europe, but it looks like costs could soon rise for the tech giant. New copyright laws have already raised the specter that Google could be forced to pay publishers for text snippets featured at the top of search results on the platform.

While Microsoft has its own search engine in Bing, the search service is a small part of the company's overall business and has a small fraction of Google's market share. The Redmond-based software giant appears eager to promote the new standards because they could strengthen its overall position in tech by weakening its rivals. 

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