What you need to know
- Microsoft today came out in support of Australia's proposed News Media Bargaining Code, a new measure aimed at making search engines pay news publishers.
- The company criticized Google for threatening to pull Search away from the country if the move was implemented.
- Google had previously criticized the Bargaining Code as "unworkable."
Microsoft has risen up in support of an Australian law that requires search engines to pay publishers for news while issuing a sharp critique of Google.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Microsoft President Brad Smith highlighted the power imbalance between digital news platforms and Australian news businesses. Microsoft supported the proposed News Media Bargaining Code, arguing that it was a reasonable move that would help support Australian news businesses. The company isn't currently subject to the legislation, but Smith says that it would happily abide by those rules should that become necessary.
Microsoft also offered to cover costs for businesses that would move their advertising to Bing over Google, should there be any disruption. The company didn't name Google at this point, but it would more directly address them later, saying:
Google had previously threatened to leave the country if the code was implemented, saying that it would pose an "unmanageable financial and operational risk." Google instead advocated for its Google News Showcase, a program that allowed it to pay news publishers on its own terms. News Showcase has already gone live in France, Brazil, and select other countries.
In response to this, Australian PM Scott Morrison said:
He later suggested that Bing would be sufficient as a replacement if Google was unable to step up.
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