Microsoft has its eyes on Australia with its search engine, Bing, as Google reportedly plans to leave the region over new payment laws. Reports indicate that the Australian government recently introduced new regulations that would require tech giants like Google and Facebook to make payments towards domestic media outlets. As it is the content links of these media outlets that drives traffic to these major platforms such as Google and Facebook.
Reports now suggest that Google might discontinue its search engine in the region over such payment uncertainties. Furthermore, key sources also indicate that Microsoft had a conversation with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
According to Reuters, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, spoke to the Prime Minister of Australia about the new laws. He also added that Microsoft is ready to fill the void through its own search engine Bing, which is the second largest search engine at the moment, after Google.
“I can tell you, Microsoft’s pretty confident, when I spoke to Satya,” said PM Morrison. “We just want the rules in the digital world to be the same that exist in the real world, in the physical world,” he added.
A Microsoft spokesperson also confirmed that the discussion indeed happened but declined to reveal any additional information.
“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,” said the spokesperson.
Google, however, has yet to respond to this matter.
That said, big tech companies have called these new regulations unworkable, and further added that they would withdraw some of their key services offered in the region if these new regulations are enforced. Notably, these services would include Google’s search engine, which accounts for 94 percent of the country’s search market.