Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during Google I/O 2016
  • Google and Microsoft are in a firefight over Australia's code mandating payments to news publishers.
  • Microsoft has supported the new code, while Google threatened to leave Australia over it.
  • Google legal chief Kent Walker on Thursday accused Microsoft of maneuvering to bolster its market share.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.co.za for more stories.

Google and Microsoft are duking it out after the latter suggested Bing could replace the incumbent tech giant as Australia's go-to search engine. 

The two tech giants have been trading barbs over Australia's proposed new law that would force the tech giants to pay news publishers for the free news snippets they display on their services.

Microsoft has supported the new law, while Google has threatened to yank its search services from Australia if it's introduced, arguing that it threatens its business model.

On Thursday, Google's chief legal officer Kent Walker fired on Microsoft for its  "thoroughly and independently debunked" claims. 

In a blog post published on Thursday, Walker said: "Microsoft's take on Australia's proposed law is unsurprising - of course they'd be eager to impose an unworkable levy on a rival and increase their market share.

"But in its eagerness, Microsoft makes numerous claims that have been thoroughly and independently debunked." 

The statement continues: "The issue isn't whether companies pay to support quality content; the issue is how. The law would unfairly require unknown payments for simply showing links to news businesses, while giving, to a favored few, special previews of search ranking." 

Walker's blog post is the latest salvo in the war of words between the two tech giants.

After Google's Australian managing director, Mel Silva, warned Australia's proposals would force the firm "to stop making Google search available in Australia", Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reached out to Prime Minister Scott Morrison personally.

On February 3, Microsoft published a post saying it would never make threats to leave Australia, then followed up with further jabs.

In a post also published on Thursday, Microsoft president Brad Smith wrote: "Our endorsement of Australia's approach has had immediate impact.

"Within 24 hours, Google was on the phone with the Prime Minister, saying they didn't really want to leave the country after all. And the link on Google's search page with its threat to leave? It disappeared overnight."

However, Google's Walker said it isn't the only entity concerned with Australia's code, pointing to concerns raised by the Australian Industry Group, the Financial Times, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Insider approached Microsoft for comment. 

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