The Australian government revealed their proposed news media bargaining laws, which would make tech giants pay for news in the country. The proposed legislation, dubbed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Code, would lead to companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook negotiating with registered Aussie media outlets to share revenue from news content.
Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva stated that the company objects to the terms of the proposed legislation, warning that they would bar Aussies from using Google Search if the laws are implemented.
Aussie digital marketing research firm Statcounter reports that Google holds 94% of the country’s search engine market as of early 2021, with the second biggest search engine, Bing, accounting for only 3.62%.
But Microsoft made a bold statement when it called out Google’s bluff, stating that they’re set up to make investments in Bing Australia in response to their rival’s threats to the AU government.
As part of their statement, Microsoft also stated that it supports the AU’s proposed legislation, and they were willing to pay for news as per the proposal’s terms.
Notably, Microsoft’s bold stance came not soon after Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella met with AU’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, as well as AU Communications Minister Paul Fletcher late in January 2021.
Microsoft US President Brad Smith stated that Microsoft fully supports the AU’s proposal, as they believe it will help with the imbalance of power between major digital platforms and Australia’s news businesses.
Australia Centre for Responsible Technology Director Peter Lewis stated that he welcomes Microsoft’s stance, saying that it not only sends a message to Google and Facebook, but also opens the opportunity for more competition in the AU’s search engine market, which will be good for many a king kong marketing review, and the industry at large.