Microsoft offers Australia Bing as Google's replacement

Andrew Cummings
February 4, 2021

Smith said that, among the points Microsoft brought up with the government, was that the company fully supports the News Media Bargaining Code, even if, by his own admission, Microsoft is not actually subject to the legislation now pending. Since the American tech company is fighting to avoid paying media companies for their content, the PM said on Monday, Feb. 1, that they can just shift to Bing, a Microsoft-powered search engine. Those services include Google's search engine, which has 94% of the country's search market, according to industry data.

Microsoft fully supports the News Media Bargaining Code.

Smith said that his company Microsoft has always supported the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's efforts to successfully analyse the concerns brought on by the digital era.

"We will invest further to ensure Bing is comparable to our competitors and we remind people that they can help, with every search Bing gets better at finding what you are looking for", Smith wrote.

Google made the threat in question based on a law that came up in Australia.

But a senior Google executive last month warned the Australian government that Google could remove its search engine from Australia over the matter.

In addition to Google threatening to withdraw its search engine service from Australia, Facebook has said it might stop Australians from sharing news content on its platform should the laws go ahead. "It also recognises the important role search plays, not only to consumers but to the thousands of Australian small businesses that rely on search and advertising technology to fund and support their organisations", Smith wrote.

While Microsoft is not subject to the legislation now pending, we'd be willing to live by these rules if the government designates us.

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.

"While other tech companies may sometimes threaten to leave Australia, Microsoft will never make such a threat".

"This is a significant development and should send a message to both Google and Facebook that their network dominance in Australia is only as strong as their respect for Australians", the center's Director Peter Lewis said in a statement.

Swinburne University senior lecturer on media Belinda Barnet said Bing and other search engines could fill the void left by Google and deliver benefits.

"The government needs a plan for how Australians will continue to be able to access essential information online if Google Search were to be taken offline". After all, the Australian government is really only dealing with Facebook and Google right now as far as compensating news media is concerned but that could change.

The Senate Committee investigating the news code is due to issue its final report on February 12.

Other reports by iNewsToday