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As Google eyes Australia exit, Microsoft talks Bing with PM Morrison

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison: "I can tell you, Microsoft's pretty confident, when I spoke to Satya (Nadella). File photo   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Software giant Microsoft Corp 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.

Also read: The Hindu Explains | Why is Google irked with Australia’s proposed law on paying for news content?

Australia has introduced laws that would force internet giant Google and social media heavyweight Facebook Inc 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 search engine, which has 94% of the country's searchmarket, according to industry data.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has since spoken with Morrison about the new rules, the tech company told Reuters, and on Monday, Morrison said the software company was ready to grow thep resence of its search tool Bing, the distant No. 2 player.

"I can tell you, Microsoft's pretty confident, when I spoke to Satya," Mr. 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 placebut declined to comment, because the company was not directlyinvolved in the laws.

"We recognise the importance of a vibrant media sector and public interest journalism in a democracy and we recognise thechallenges the media sector has faced over many years throughchanging business models and consumer preferences," the spokeswoman said.

A Google representative was not immediately available forcomment.

A day earlier, Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had requested a meeting over the law, and that they had talked, but that he would not back down on the change.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 7:08:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/as-google-eyes-australia-exit-microsoft-talks-bing-with-pm-morrison/article33713925.ece

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