An industry group representing major tech firms such as Google, Meta and Amazon has denounced an Indian parliamentary panel’s proposed digital competition law. Claiming the proposal is “absolutist and regressive,” U.S. tech giants are in a tense dispute with New Delhi over the law which seeks to regulate their alleged anticompetitive practices.
Last month, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance proposed a Digital Competition Act to prevent Big Tech companies from unfairly promoting their own products or refusing to support third-party systems. The panel believes this act will be beneficial not only for India and its growing startup economy, but also for the world.
The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) released a statement expressing concern that India’s proposed digital competition law could hamper innovation, decrease business investments, and have an outsized impact on consumers. They called the report “prescriptive, absolutist and regressive.”
India’s panel last month recommended action to counter monopoly, warning tech giants that they must not prioritize their own offers over rivals’ when mediating supply and sales markets.
The parliamentary panel recommended the EU’s Digital Markets Act, U.S.’s American Innovation and Choice Online Act, and Open App Market Act.
AIC reported that AICOA and OAMA have been unable to gain bipartisan backing due to conflicting opinions on their potential impact on consumers, growth, and innovation. Consequently, there is no agreement that a DMA-style pre-emptive bill is the right approach for addressing competition issues in the digital realm.
The last decade has seen India become the world’s second-largest internet market, bringing in over $75 billion in investment from major players like Google, Meta, Amazon and venture capitalists Sequoia, Lightspeed, SoftBank and Tiger Global. Yet New Delhi’s recent policy shifts have caused significant disruption among US tech giants: aiming to make operations more accountable and equitable.
As 2023 begins, New Delhi is introducing legislation to strengthen the government’s control over internet companies, such as a revised telecom law.
The Asia Internet Coalition has urged the government to assess whether overseas regulatory developments would be beneficial and outweigh their costs. They have highlighted two bills – the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill and the Competition Amendment Bill (CAB) – which seek to protect consumers, preserve competition, and foster tech innovation in digital markets.
It is essential to comprehend the impacts of these two bills on the digital atmosphere before introducing any new legislative suggestions.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently highlighted the significance of India’s drafting of key regulations, claiming that an open and connected internet will bring great benefit.