Google’s CEO and Australia’s Prime Minister Discuss Potential New Law

A New Bill Could Require Tech Companies to Pay Australian News Outlets

Google (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met yesterday to discuss a contentious bill which was introduced in Australia’s parliament in December. The bill would require platforms like Google and Facebook (FB) to pay Australian media outlets to use their content in search results or news feeds.

For context, Google’s estimated value is over $1 trillion—equivalent to about two thirds of all of Australia’s annual GDP. Google currently controls over 94% of the search engine market share in Australia.

Debates Between Publishers and Big Tech

Google has voiced concerns about the proposed bill in Australia, saying it would give Australian news companies an unfair advantage. Last month the search engine threatened to stop providing service in Australia if the bill became law. Facebook also said it would no longer allow Australian users to share news articles on the platform if the bill was passed.

Google, Facebook, and other services benefit from the use of articles and other media on their sites. These links draw users to social media platforms and search engines, and this generates ad revenue. Media outlets argue that this is unfair and they should get a cut of these profits. Google and Facebook say that the setup is mutually beneficial, and that their platforms direct traffic to publishers’ websites.

Looking Ahead

Last month Google reached an agreement with French publishers surrounding similar issues. It appears that after yesterday’s discussions between Pichai and Morrison, some form of a deal will be reached in Australia and Google will likely not pull out of the country entirely.

Few details were released about the talks, but Morrison described the discussions as “constructive” at a press conference yesterday. Investors, as well as citizens in Australia, will be eager to see how negotiations unfold.

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