Australia Isn't Saving the News Business

They're working for News Corp., i.e. Rupert Murdoch

To some reporters, Australia’s demand that Google and Facebook “pay” for links to local papers seems like a revolution. (Picture from Wikipedia.)

It’s not. It’s embezzlement. The embezzler isn’t even the Australian government. They’re just the bag man.

The embezzler is Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch’s News Corp. has 52% of Australia’s news market, and more than 20% of the electronic news marketplace. The Murdoch press there is, if anything, even more propagandistic than it is here. That’s why Australia has the worst climate policy of any nation in the world.

That’s the “hero” that’s going to “spank big tech” and “save the news business.”

The fact is that Murdoch missed the Web, almost completely. After ignoring the Web for a decade the company’s big move was to buy MySpace – MYSPACE – for $580 million back in 2005. Want to know what really happened to MySpace? Rupert Murdoch happened to it.

More recently they’ve gotten smarter, buying Realtor.com for $950 million in 2015. They can hide behind the Realtor brand name in ways they couldn’t hide behind MySpace. In 2015 Realtor.Com was said to be the “third leading real estate site.” Now it’s fourth. Verizon’s Yahoo has passed it.

The point is, Murdoch doesn’t do this Internet thing well, so he’s trying to use government to gain control of it. That’s what the Australian move is all about, a payoff. Sure, Microsoft might step into the breach with Bing. Right now Google has 94% of the Australian search market.

But let’s get the headline right. Microsoft is willing to pay off Rupert Murdoch to seize the Australian search market.