Microsoft Corp., on February 3, said it fully supported Australia’s proposed laws that would force Internet giants Google and Facebook Inc. to pay domestic media outlets for their content. If implemented, both internet heavyweights Google and Facebook would be coerced into negotiating payments to domestic media outlets whose content links drive traffic to their respective platforms. While there has been no response from Facebook, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which holds over 94 per cent of Australia’s search market has already begun “experimenting” by pulling major news sites from its search results and it hiding significant news stories from users.
On February 1, country’s PM Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra that he had talked to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was “pretty confident” that Bing could fill in the gap if Google pulls out. Confirming the same in a statement, Microsoft, on February 3 said that while it was still not a “subject to the legislation currently pending”, it was willing to live by the proposed rules if the government designated them. Doubling down on its stance further it said that “the code reasonably attempts to address the bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and Australian news businesses."
In addendum, Microsoft also touted that it could offer small firms a chance to transfer advertising business to Bing with no costs and that it would invest further in the product to ensure it is competitive. The new laws, which Morison said would equate digital world to the real physical world, have been staunchly opposed by other tech giants.
Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on January 30 failed to convince the Australian lawmakers to change the policy that requires tech giants to pay news media outlets for content, Australia’s Treasurer said in a televised interview. Josh Frydenberg stated on Australian Broadcasting Corp’s “Insiders” program on Sunday that Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer “could not convince” him to back down in what he described as a ‘very constructive’ dialogue.