Software giant Microsoft is confident its search product Bing can fill the gap in Australia if Google pulls its search over required payments to media outlets, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.
Australia hasthat would force internet giant and social media heavyweight to negotiate payments to domestic media outlets whose content links drive traffic to their platforms.
However, the big tech firms have called the laws unworkable and said last month they would withdraw key services from Australia if the regulations went ahead. Those services include Google’s, which has 94 percent of the country’s search market, according to industry data.
CEO Satya Nadella has since spoken with Morrison about the , the tech company told Reuters, and on Monday, Morrison said the software company was ready to grow the presence of its search tool , the distant number 2 player.
“I can tell you, Microsoft’s pretty confident, when I spoke to Satya,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra, without giving further detail of the conversation.
“We just want the rules in the digital world to be the same that exist in the real world, in the physical world,” Morrison added.
A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed the discussion took place but declined to comment, because the company was not directly involved in the laws.
“We recognize the importance of a vibrant media sector and public interest journalism in a democracy and we recognize the challenges the media sector has faced over many years through changing business models and consumer preferences,” the spokeswoman said.
A Google representative was not immediately available for comment.
A day earlier, Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hadover the law, and that they had talked, but that he would not back down on the change.
© Thomson Reuters 2021