After being threatened with Google's
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission isn't backing down despite Google's threats to leave the continent, where it has a staggering market share totaling over 90%. Rod Sims, head of the ACCC, noted during an interview with CNBC that "It's very much their call" if the company wanted to leave Australia, indicating that the government wouldn't try to stop them if they backed out of negotiations.
"It's not what we want to happen. But obviously, at the end of the day, you're just not going to be able to have a negotiation, have proper public policy, if you have to do whatever they want. If they then left the country, that would be very unfortunate but ultimately that's got to be their call," Sims said.
Google's threat is in response to legislation awaiting approval in the Australian Parliament that would require tech companies to pay Australian media firms for listing their content in search results. Much like the growing bipartisan support for regulating the immensely powerful tech sector in the United States, Australia's Parliament seems poised to pass the pending legislation due to its popularity across Australia's political parties. "This has got more cross-party support than just about any other bill I can remember," Sims remarked on the bill's chances.
The push for companies to compensate content creators is coming primarily due to declining advertising sales for many periodicals due to the popularity of internet advertising. Many legislators are concerned that Google and other tech giants are using anti-competitive practices to maintain their advertising and content curation dominance.
At the very least, Google appears to be reapproaching the Australian government, announcing that several Australian publishers that would be joining the News Showcase program, which compensates content creators. Whether this means that Google will be willing to play by Australia's rules should the legislation passes remains to be seen.