Bing could replace Google in Australia, says minister

  • Bing could replace Google in Australia, a local government minister has suggested.
  • Google has threatened to pull out of Australia over new regulations on payments to news publishers.
  • Microsoft would be “very interested” in the commercial potential of an exit from Google.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Microsoft’s search engine Bing could replace Google, if the search giant follows through on threats to cut services in Australia, local government officials say.

The provocation is the latest in an ongoing row between the Australian government and Google, with the former attempting to force the search giant to pay to display local news in its results.

Last month, Mel Silva, chief executive of Google Australia and New Zealand, told the Australian Senate that the government’s proposals were unworkable and would leave the company “no choice but to stop making search Google available in Australia”.

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Now Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has weighed in, telling ABC that Microsoft is “very interested” in the market opportunity an exit from Google would provide.

“The CEO of Microsoft approached the Prime Minister and offered a meeting, accompanied by senior executives. I was able to participate in this meeting and we had a very informative discussion about Microsoft’s interest in the Australian market,” said he declared.

“At the moment they have a small market share in search, but they want to expand it, they want to grow Bing’s presence here.”

He added: “Listen, at the end of the day, if you want to do business in Australia, you have to abide by the laws of the sovereign government of Australia.”

It remains to be seen how ready the Australian population is to adopt Bing. Microsoft’s search engine remains far behind Google in terms of popularity, with around 13% market share worldwide compared to around 70% for Google, according to NetMarketShare 2020 statistics.

Business Insider approached Microsoft and Google for comment.