The AU government proposed a plan to make the biggest digital platforms operating in the country pay for any new content, aimed at ensuring Aussie media companies get proper compensation for having their news content used by tech giants.
In response to the proposal, Google threatened that it would pull out of Australia completely, barring Aussies from using their search engine.
The government’s proposal received support from a surprising source, as Microsoft backed the AU government’s proposal, saying that they would be willing to pay as per the proposal’s terms and help Aussie SMEs transfer their marketing to Bing if Google follows through with their threat.
Microsoft President Brad Smith issued a statement on the matter, saying that he met with AU Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, where he and the company expressed their support for the AU’s planned legislation.
Smith stated that Microsoft has set plans to ensure that small businesses in Australia that rely on Google for advertising would be able to transfer their advertising to Bing with ease and minimal costs, minimizing disruption.
The Microsoft executive said that they believe that the AU’s proposed legislation is a good step towards ensuring fairer competition and a more customer-friendly digital ecosystem.
Morrison, on his end, confirmed that he had indeed met with the Microsoft executives about the possibility of Bing replacing Google in the AU, noting how confident Microsoft was that the AU’s businesses and users wouldn’t be worse off.
With Google accounting for around 95% of the AU’s search engine market share, experts like king kong sabri suby are watching the legislation and related developments closely.