Microsoft is calling on the United States to adopt Australia’s media payment law.
Smith indicated that Microsoft would support similar proposals in the European Union, Canada and other nations.
“Democracy has always started at the local level. Today, far too many local communities must nurture democracy without a Fourth Estate,” he wrote.
“The cure will likely require multiple medicines. However, part of an innovative prescription has emerged from halfway around the world.
“In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press.”
Parties are given a three-month period to negotiate. However, if negotiations stall, the matter can be taken to an independent arbitrator.
The arbitrator has the authority to mandate an agreement via “baseball arbitration.” This means both parties submit their best offers, and one will be selected.
However, Microsoft has applauded the clause saying “baseball arbitration” was used precisely to level unequal bargaining positions.
“With only one or two whales on one side of a nation’s table and dozens or hundreds of minnows on the other, the result is often a lengthy and expensive negotiation that leaves the minnows short on food,” he wrote.
“The Australians deserve credit for studying this landscape and discerning the similarity to negotiations between tech gatekeepers and smaller news organisations that have no choice but to do business with them,” Smith wrote.
But Google has hit back at Microsoft.
Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker wrote, “Microsoft’s take on Australia’s proposed law is unsurprising—of course, they'd be eager to impose an unworkable levy on a rival and increase their market share.”
Top management from the tech giants have met with Australian leaders over the new Code.
Shortly after Microsoft’s meeting, Google CEO Sundar Pichai also held talks with the Australian prime minister.
Morrison said the talks were “constructive” and should give Google “great encouragement to engage with the process.”