Microsoft will help European news outlets get paid for their content

The enemies of its enemies are its friends.

Microsoft is clearly keen to put the squeeze on Facebook and Google as they either pay for news content or block it. The software firm is teaming up with the European Publishers Council to find a way for news outlets to get paid when tech "gatekeepers" share their content. They're calling on EU and national governments to implement Australia-style arbitration provisions that set prices based on the benefits for each side, the costs of production and any "undue burden[s]" payments might impose on the platform owners.

Company VP Casper Klynge argued that a healthy news market was "critical to the success" of democracy, and that paying for news would support that. He pointed out that Microsoft had launched a local news investment initiative in October, and that Microsoft News had been sharing a "large portion" of its revenue with publishers.

There's no guarantee the EU or its member states will take action. The involvement of the EPC gives this some clout, though, and there's certainly precedent for this when Spain briefly charged a tax for news in search results. It's safe to say you can expect at least some resistance, though. Facebook and Google have vehemently opposed Australia's efforts, and Google's News Corp deal was meant to head off any potential legislation. Not that Microsoft necessarily minds — this might level the playing field by making rivals pay for the news in their search results and feeds.