Bing could fill void in Australian market, says government minister
Microsoft's Bing could fill the void in the Australian search market if Google withdraws, according to a government minister.
The tech giant is embroiled in a dispute with the Australian government about the country's new media code and has threatened to withdraw from the Australian market entirely.
However, Paul Fletcher, the communications minister, doesn't see it as a huge issue, suggesting Microsoft's search engine could easily fill the void.
He told the ABC: "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 also played down the seriousness of Google's threat.
He said: "What Google and Facebook say they intend to do is really a matter for them. 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."
If Google does withdraw from Australia, it'll create a gap in the market for rival tech firms.
Fletcher explained: "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."
Speaking in broader terms about the dispute, he added: "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."