Microsoft announces support for Australian media laws and expanded use of its Bing engine

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Microsoft said on Wednesday it supports proposed new laws in Australia that will force internet giants Google and Facebook to pay local media outlets for their content.

“While Microsoft is not subject to the legislation currently in suspension, we will be prepared to abide by these rules if the government appoints us,” the software company said in a statement.

“The law reasonably attempts to address the imbalance of bargaining power between Australian digital platforms and news companies.”

Google and Facebook of Alphabet Inc called the laws unenforceable and said last month they would withdraw some key services from Australia if the regulations continued.

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Microsoft is ready to step in and expand the Bing search product in Australia if Google pulls its search engine, after he spoke with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last week.

Google owns 94% of the search market in the country, according to industry data.

Microsoft said in its statement that it would offer small businesses an opportunity to transfer their advertising business to Bing without any costs and that it would invest more in the product to ensure its competitiveness. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



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