Tech giant Microsoft has reportedly offered to fill Google’s role in Australia after the search giant’s threats to leave the country if a new law is passed that would force Google to pay publishers for news content.
The Daily Mail reports that tech giant Microsoft has told the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison that the firm is happy to replace Google with Bing as the country’s main search engine if required.
Breitbart News reported last month that Google threatened to pull its search engine out of Australia if a proposed law that would force the company to pay news publishers for their content goes into effect.
Google VP for Australia and New Zealand Mel Silva told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee:
If this version of the Code were to become law it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.
We have had to conclude after looking at the legislation in detail we do not see a way, with the financial and operational risks, that we could continue to offer a service in Australia.
Breitbart News has previously reported on Google’s attempts to lobby against Australia’s plans. Google claims that Australia is attempting to make the tech giant pay for news articles featured in places such as Google News, stating that it “would set an untenable precedent for our business, and the digital economy” and that it’s “not compatible with how search engines work.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to Google’s recent statements quickly, stating: “We don’t respond to threats. Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia.”
Morrison now says that he has spoke to Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella about the company’s search engine, Bing, replacing Google in the country. “I can tell you, Microsoft’s pretty confident” that Australians would not be negatively affected, Morrison told the National Press Club of Australia.
Morrison added: “These are big technology companies and what’s important to Australia, I think, is that we set the rules that are right for our people.”
Microsoft confirmed that it had spoken to Morrison, stating:
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.
With respect to the current controversy over a potential code of conduct governing Google and Facebook, Microsoft is not directly involved and we wouldn’t want to comment on that ongoing process involving the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) and those companies.
The newly proposed Australian law aims to make Google and Facebook pay Australian media firms for using their news content. Currently, there are no plans to make smaller search engines such as Bing pay for linking users to Australian news, although the government has stated it is still a possibility.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com