Microsoft's Bing ready to step in if Google pulls search from Australia, minister says

Australia's government has revealed that Microsoft's Bing is ready to fill in if Google goes ahead with its threat to remove search from the country when the mandatory news code is signed into law. 

Other Available Options

Acknowledging that Google dominated the market in Australia with a market share of 93%, the communications minister Paul Fletcher, revealed that there were other companies, including Microsoft and DuckDuckGo that were in talks with the government about replacing it. 

"Microsoft, a giant American corporation, an information technology powerhouse, is very significantly interested in the market opportunity in Australia, should Google choose to withdraw its presence in search in Australia,” Fletcher told the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas.

Fletcher also played down the threat from Google, stating that it "doesn't always follow through" and confirmed that the government would not be backing down. 

“What Google and Facebook say they intend to do is really a matter for them,” he said. “We made it clear we very much prefer them to stay in Australia, they’re an important, significant part of the ecosystem, but ultimately these are business decisions.”

No Backing Down

Explaining about Microsoft's push to replace Google, Fletcher said: "The Microsoft CEO reached out to the prime minister and proposed a meeting, accompanied by senior executives, I was able to join that meeting, and we had a very informative discussion about Microsoft’s interest in the Australian market. At the moment they have a small market share in search, but they’re interested in expanding that, they’re interested in developing the presence of Bing here.”

Fletcher revealed the prime minister told Facebook’s global CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, that he would not “change from the path that we have set out”, which is based on “a very thorough public policy process”.

"Look, ultimately, at the end of the day, if you want to do business in Australia, you need to comply with the laws of the sovereign government of Australia.”