Today Google’s Eric Schmidt met with French President François Hollande to announce an agreement after a battle that has gone on for months between Google and the French press/government. The press, who were hoping to propose a law requiring Google to pay royalties each time they cite their article headlines/descriptions in Google News, will have to settle for a little less than what they hoped would save their dying publications: a 60 million euro fund from Google to support projects to help the media industry transfer to the digital age.
The fund, announced officially on the Elysée press site, is a big win for Google, who was looking at losing a market that represents over a Billion euros in revenue, according to recent figures. The 60 million euro investment represents about three days worth of earnings for the search giant, and considering they are also currently being investigated by the government due to the fact that they pay (legally) about 1% taxes on the earnings earned in the French market, it is safe to say that this is a win for Google, yet again.
Google has been getting wins left and right with nay-sayers, and it seems they’ve got a big enough wallet to do so. They recently settled a 6-year feud with the Belgian press, and afterwards settled with the FTC, who were investigating Google for anti-competitive practices. They are still battling it out with the EU’s anti-competitivity group, but so far he term ‘negotiations’ has been the name of the game, so keep an eye out for yet another large, yet tiny settlement.
I, for one, am pretty happy that the settlement was made – this is clearly not the answer to the French presses woes (and there are woes). I guess that “Dear Google: Please don’t consider Rude Baguette a French media site” article can go in the trash, now. All I know is, Google News brings me traffic each day, so… thanks Eric!
Photo courtesy of Fleur Pellerin