SINGAPORE – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday he had a “constructive meeting” with Google chief Sundar Pichai after the tech giant threatened to pull its search engine out of the country over a possible new law.
Essentially, Australia wants internet giants Facebook and Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, to pay for news.
The government introduced a media law in parliament in December. If the new media negotiation code were to be adopted, the digital platforms would have to pay local media and publishers to link their content in news feeds or search results. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, a government-appointed body will decide the price.
“I thought it was a constructive meeting,” Morrison told reporters on Thursday. This emerges from the minutes of a press conference published by his office.
“I was able to send them the best possible signals that should encourage them very much to get involved in the process and make the arrangements we want to make with the various media organizations in Australia,” he said.
According to Morrison, during the call, Google raised certain aspects of the media negotiation code and the discussions have touched on the company’s ability to continue providing services in Australia.
“Ultimately, they understand that Australia sets the rules for how these things work. And I was very clear about how I saw it,” said Morrison without further elaboration.
Google did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.