What Is Indias EU-Like Anti-Trust Proposal That Irked Tech Giants Google, Amazon, Apple?

New Delhi: A US lobby group representing Google, Amazon and Apple has requested India to rethink its proposed EU-like competition law. This law is arguing regulations against data use and preferential treatment of partners could raise user costs, a letter shows.  

In February, a government panel in India proposed imposing obligations on a few major digital companies under a new antitrust law, citing the increasing market power of these entities. The panel highlighted that existing regulations are “time-consuming” to enforce.

Digital Competition Bill: 

India’s “Digital Competition Bill” is on the lines of the EU’s landmark Digital Markets Act 2022. This bill targets large firms, including those with a global turnover of over $30 billion and whose digital services have at least 10 million users locally, bringing some of the world’s biggest tech firms under its ambit. 

However, some of the globe’s largest tech firms would fall within its scope. The bill has been proposed to prohibit companies from exploiting the non-public data of their users and promoting their services over rivals. It also gives authority to abolish restrictions on downloading third-party apps.  

India Lucrative Market For Big Tech Companies:

With a population exceeding 1.4 billion and a growing affluent class, India is a potential market for major tech corporations. This month, Apple CEO Tim Cook asserted that the company posted a “revenue record” in India during the March quarter when its overall global revenue declined by 4%.

In response to concerns about a few dominant digital players exerting substantial influence over the market, an Indian panel asserts the necessity of a new law. This proposal, similar to measures in the EU, suggests penalties of up to 10% of a company’s annual global turnover for infringements. 

Despite these challenges, a coalition of 40 Indian startups voices support for the new legislation, arguing it could curb monopolistic behaviours of major digital platforms and foster fair competition for smaller entities.

Scrutiny On Amazon, Apple

To recall, Amazon finds itself under scrutiny for alleged preferential treatment of certain sellers on its Indian platform, a claim it refutes. Likewise, Apple refutes allegations but faces investigation over the purported misuse of its dominant position in the apps market.

There is no fixed timeline, however, the Indian government plans to review feedback on the proposal before pursuing parliamentary approval, potentially with modifications or without changes.