Bing set to replace Google in Australia

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that Microsoft Corp is confident its search product can fill the gap in Australia if Google pulls its search over required payments to media outlets.

Australia has introduced laws that would force Google and Facebook to negotiate payments to domestic media outlets whose content links drive traffic to their platforms.

The Big Tech firms, however, 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 search market, according to industry data.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has since spoken with Morrison about the new rules, and on Monday, Morrison said the software company was ready to grow the presence of its search tool Bing.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed the discussion took place but declined to comment, because the company was not directly involved in the laws.

“We recognise the importance of a vibrant media sector and public interest journalism in a democracy and we recognise 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 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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