Software giant Microsoft Corp is confident that its search product Bing can fill the gap in Australia if Google pulls its search over required payments to media outlets, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday.
Australia has introduced laws that would force Internet giant Google and social media heavyweight Facebook Inc to negotiate payments to domestic media outlets whose content links drive traffic to their platforms.
However, the firms have called the laws unworkable and last month said they would withdraw key services from Australia if the regulations went ahead.
Those services include Google’s search engine, which has 94 percent of the country’s search market, according to industry data.
Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella has since spoken with Morrison about the new rules, the tech company told reporters, and Morrison said the software company was ready to grow the presence of its search tool Bing, the distant No. 2 player.
“I can tell you, Microsoft’s pretty confident, when I spoke to Satya,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra, without giving further detail of the conversation.
“We just want the rules in the digital world to be the same that exist in the real world, in the physical world,” Morrison added.
A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that the discussion took place, but declined to comment, because the company was not directly involved in the laws.
“We recognize the importance of a vibrant media sector and public interest journalism in a democracy and we recognize the challenges the media sector has faced over many years through changing business models and consumer preferences,” the spokeswoman said.
Google declined to comment.
A day earlier, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg had requested a meeting over the law, and that they had talked, but that he would not back down on the change.
At an Australian Senate hearing into the laws, Australian Department of the Treasury Deputy Secretary of Markets Meghan Quinn said the Australian government would have limited ability to intervene if Google’s departure hurt businesses that rely on its search function.
“The [media bargaining] code doesn’t prevent the wholesale withdrawal of services, and there’s difficulty in any of the legislative mechanisms we’ve got for someone to [be forced to] provide a service,” Quinn said.
Cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group (恆大集團) has begun repaying investors in its wealth management products with real estate, said Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd (恆大地產), its main unit. Evergrande, with more than US$300 billion in liabilities, is in the throes of a liquidity crisis that has left it racing to raise funds to pay its many lenders and suppliers. It has a bond interest payment of US$83.5 million due on Thursday. The company said on WeChat on Saturday that investors interested in redeeming wealth management products for physical assets should contact their investment consultants or visit local offices. Financial news outlet Caixin on
WORK SUSPENDED: A Taiwanese maker of golf club heads said that it expects the situation to normalize next quarter, thanks to rising vaccination rates in Vietnam Several Taiwanese manufacturers in Vietnam have been struggling with production problems over the past few weeks, as the country’s south remains under a COVID-19 lockdown. Pou Chen Corp (寶成工業), an original design manufacturer for international footwear brands, said that production at its factory in Ho Chi Minh City has ground to a halt, so it expects a significant drop in revenue at that factory from July to last month. If the COVID-19 outbreak in southern Vietnam subsides in the fourth quarter of this year and employees are allowed to return to work, they might be able to put in some overtime,
‘CORE VALUES’: The contract chipmaker did not specify why the employees were dismissed, but media reports said they had leaked information about customer orders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has fired seven of its employees for violating the company’s “core values,” the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. While the company did not disclose exactly why it fired the seven employees, local media reports earlier in the day said that the employees had leaked confidential information about customer orders. In a statement, the company said that it fired the seven at once, adding that it released an internal notice last week to inform the entire company of the move ahead of the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holilday, which ended on Tuesday. TSMC said it fired the seven
Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s (高端疫苗) board of directors yesterday approved a proposal to conduct a phase 3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe, it said yesterday. The final stage of human tests, if approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), would mark a big milestone in the COVID-19 vaccine development of Medigen, which has so far completed phase 1 and 2 clinical trials in Taiwan and is conducting a small phase 3 clinical trial in Paraguay. Medigen in July consulted the EMA about conducting clinicial trials of its vaccine and it received a “positive response” from the agency, the company