Microsoft has emerged as a potential Google replacement should the search engine make good on its promise to exit the Australian market if the proposed News Media Bargaining Code is turned into law.
According to the AFR, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has held talks with Microsoft CEO and president Satya Nadella to discuss the possibility of expanding Microsoft’s search offering Bing in the Australian market.
Bing currently boasts a 3.7 per cent market share in the Australian market, compared to Google’s 94 per cent.
Speaking on the ABC’s Insiders yesterday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg suggested the legislation is now creating options for companies such as Microsoft to consolidate their position in the Australian market.
“They’re watching this very closely, and no doubt, see opportunities here in Australia to expand, too. So this (the media code) is world leading,”
The talks with Microsoft come after Google threatened to withdraw its Search offering from Australia, arguing that such a code would “break the way search engines work”.
Speaking during a Senate hearing about the code last month, Google Australia managing director Mel Silva said the company would have “no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia”.
Questions remain around Facebook
While much of the focus surrounding the News Media Bargaining Code has been around Google, there are still questions about how Facebook will respond should the legislation be passed into law.
Frydenberg held a meeting with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the code.
And while Frydenberg labeled the talks “constructive”, he suggested he will remain firm on his stance.
“Mark Zuckerberg did not convince me to back down, if that’s what you’re asking,” he said.
Facebook has previously said it will stop allowing publishers and users in Australia from sharing news on Facebook and Instagram, should the government go through with the proposed code.