Google has taken the extraordinary step of threatening to pull its search engine out of Australia if it’s forced to pay for news content.
Google has long been at odds with news publishers. Many have tried to get the company to pay for news, but the company has made it a practice to link to and use news content without paying. Google has always claimed that news publishers benefit far more than it does from the arrangement.
In spite of that, the company has begun caving to pressure. France has ordered Google to pay for news and the company recently set aside $1 billion to help fund partnerships with publishers.
Google seems unwilling to give into Australia’s demands, however, according to ABC News. According to the report, Google has said it will pull its search engine if Australia moves ahead with its plans to force the company to pay.
“If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google search available in Australia,” Mel Silva, the managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, told a Senate inquiry. “And that would be a bad outcome not only for us, but also for the Australian people, media diversity, and the small businesses who use our products every day.”
That stance did not go over well with the government, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying “we don’t respond to threats.”
It remains to be seen how things will eventually shake out, but it’s not looking good for Google Australia either way.