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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

Microsoft president Brad Smith will sharply criticize Google for what he describes as a chokehold over the news business Friday, according to a copy of his opening remarks for a House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing obtained by Axios.

What's happening: Smith's testimony throws Microsoft's support behind Congressional efforts to limit the power and reach of big tech companies, including a bill that would let news organizations collectively negotiate with online content distributors.

The big picture: Microsoft, which faced its own federal lawsuit for monopolistic behavior two decades ago, is emerging today as a cheerleader for antitrust action against some of its rivals.

What they're saying: "News organizations have ad inventory to sell, but they can no longer sell directly to those who want to place ads," Smith will say, according to his remarks. "Instead, for all practical purposes they must use Google’s tools, operate on Google’s ad exchanges, contribute data to Google’s operations, and pay Google money."

  • "All this impacts the ability of news organizations to benefit economically even from advertising on their own sites."
  • Microsoft has said it knows the company will be subject to new regulations it is supporting.

Google, which struck a deal with News Corp to evade Australia's new news media code (a law which Microsoft also supports), has defended its treatment of and relationship with the news industry and suggested Microsoft is simply trying to undercut a competitor.

  • On Thursday Google put up a site detailing its financial support of journalism through its news showcase tools, various initiatives and payments to publishers.

Update: Google said in a blog post Friday morning Microsoft was being opportunistic as competition in its core business areas heats up: "They are reverting to their familiar playbook of attacking rivals and lobbying for regulations that benefit their own interests," SVP of global affairs Kent Walker wrote. "They are now making self-serving claims and are even willing to break the way the open web works in an effort to undercut a rival."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden signals openness to ending filibuster for voting rights legislation

President Biden participates in a CNN town hall at Baltimore Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday at a CNN town hall he'd be willing to consider doing away with the filibuster in the Senate in a bid to protect voting rights and "and maybe more."

Why it matters: With an evenly split Senate, legislation requires at least 10 Republican votes making it highly unlikely any new voting rights bill would pass with the filibuster in tact.

9 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

10 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

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