A long-simmering feud between tech giants reignited on Friday, with Microsoft Corp.’s president lashing out at Google and the search juggernaut’s top lawyer firing back.
The unusual public squabbling, which included the lawyer saying that Microsoft is criticizing Google to distract from its own role in two recent high-profile hacks, came against the backdrop of a congressional hearing about the impact of online platforms on the news industry. It is one of several high-profile disputes this year around Silicon Valley, including Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. sparring over privacy-related issues.
Microsoft President Brad Smith discussed Google at length in his prepared remarks at Friday’s hearing, saying that online news is the food that feeds Google’s search and advertising network, and suggesting ways the search giant could better support the news industry. He expressed his support for legislation that would give news organizations more bargaining power with Facebook and Google.
Other supporters of the bill include the News Media Alliance, an industry trade group that includes News Corp , publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
Just ahead of the hearing, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, shot back in a blog post. He defended Google’s support of journalism, asserting that it has paid publishers for links to their work and accused Microsoft of “naked corporate opportunism.”