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Microsoft sides with Australian gov in digital news fight, suggests Bing to replace Google

Microsoft logo outside building
(Image credit: gguy / Shutterstock)

The battle surrounding Australia’s contentious new media laws just got a new participant.

Following Google’s threat to exit the Australian market last month, Microsoft has suggested it’s ready and waiting to step in to become Australia’s search engine of choice, offering up its own service Bing as a replacement.

Microsoft has today (February 3, 2020) publicly thrown its support behind the Australian Federal Government’s efforts to pass a proposed media bargaining code, which would require tech giants such as Google and Facebook to pay Australian news organizations for their content.

In a statement issued today, president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, said the Government's proposed code “reasonably attempts to address the bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and Australian news businesses”.

Smith went on to acknowledge that, “while Microsoft is not subject to the legislation currently pending, we’d be willing to live by these rules if the government designates us”.

It’s a vastly different outlook when compared to Google’s response to the proposed law, which in its current form the company has described as “unworkable”.

While Google has threatened to remove its search service from Australia, Microsoft’s president stated that it was committed to the Australian market and that “Microsoft will never make such a threat”.

Bing has entered the chat

In the statement, Microsoft said it had put forward its own search engine, Bing, when Smith and Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, met with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the country’s communications minister last week.

During the conversation, Microsoft said it was willing to increase its investment into Bing to ensure it can adequately compete with other players in the market.

If Google follows through with its threat, Microsoft also said it will help small businesses transfer their online advertising to Bing “with no transfer costs”.

Jasmine Gearie

Jasmine Gearie is TechRadar Australia’s resident deals expert, with a keen eye for hunting down the best Aussie discounts on everything from laptops and phones to cameras, headphones and mobile and broadband plans.