Google’s (GOOG) Sundar Pichai meets Australia PM after fallout over new law

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference in the Prime Ministers courtyard on December 11, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.

Sam Mooy | Getty Images News | Getty Images

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 from the country over a potential new law.

Essentially, Australia wants internet giants Facebook and Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, to pay for news.

The government introduced a media bill in parliament in December. If passed, the new media bargaining code would require the digital platforms to pay local media outlets and publishers to link their content in news feeds or search results. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, a government-appointed panel will decide on the price.

“I thought it was a constructive meeting,” Morrison told reporters Thursday, according to the transcript of a press conference posted by his office.

“I have been able to send them the best possible signals that should give them a great encouragement to engage with the process and conclude the arrangements we’d like to see them conclude with the various news media organisations in Australia,” he said.

Morrison said Google raised specific aspects of the media bargaining code on the call and the discussions touched on the company’s ability to continue providing services in Australia.

“At the end of the day, they understand that Australia sets the rules for how these things operate. And I was very clear about how I saw this playing out,” Morrison said, without further elaboration.

Google did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comments.

‘Unfair advantage’

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