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  • Microsoft says it’s confident that its search engine Bing can fill the gap in Australia if Google decides to pull its own search service
  • Both Google and Facebook have firmly pushed back on proposed legislation that would make the U.S. tech giants pay local media outlets for content
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said the software company is ready to grow the presence of Bing
  • Bing holds a distant number two position after Google, which accounts for 94 per cent of the search engine market in Australia
  • The discussion follows a separate conversation between Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was unable to persuade the government to back down

Microsoft says it’s confident that its search engine Bing can fill the gap in Australia if Google decides to pull its own search service.

Both Google and Facebook have firmly pushed back on proposed legislation that would make the U.S. tech giants pay local media outlets for content that appears on their sites.

The two companies are estimated to account for more than 80 per cent of online advertising spending in Australia, starving newsrooms of their primary revenue source and leading to widespread shutdowns and job losses.

In addition to Google threatening to withdraw its search engine service from Australia, Facebook has said it might stop Australians from sharing news content on its platform should the laws go ahead.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said the software company is ready to grow the presence of Bing, which holds a distant number two position after Google — the dominant search service provider globally with a 94 per cent market share in Australia.

“I can tell you, Microsoft’s pretty confident, when I spoke to Satya,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

“We just want the rules in the digital world to be the same that exist in the real world, in the physical world,” he added.

Just yesterday, Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had requested a meeting, along with communications minister Paul Fletcher, to discuss the proposed legislation, but stressed that Zuckerberg was unable to shake his stance on the proposed laws.

“No, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t convince me to back down if that’s what you’re asking,” Frydenberg told the ABC, but withheld any further details.

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