Bing eyes replacing Google in Australia

Australia's leader says Microsoft is confident its search engine Bing can fill the gap left by Google if Google pulls out of the country.

Australia introduced laws that would force tech giants to negotiate payments with Australian media outlets, whose content drives traffic to their platforms.

Both Facebook and Google have called the laws unreasonable and last month, they threatened to pull key services from Australia if the regulations went ahead.

Google said they would withdraw their search engine, which, according to industry data, accounts for 94 percent of the country's search market.

Bing is a distant number two in the market.

Microsoft told Reuters that its CEO Satya Nadella has since spoken with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and on Monday Morrison said Microsoft was ready to step in with Bing, with respect for the new rules.

"What's important to Australia, I think, is that we set the rules that are right for our people. And having a news environment in this country that is one that is sustainable and is supported commercially, then this is vital to how democracies function."

A Google representative was not immediately available for comment, while Australia's treasurer said that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had requested a meeting over the new regulations, though Zuckerberg also said he would not back down from their disagreement.