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Big Tech Asks India to Reconsider Antitrust Law

Big Tech Asks India to Reconsider Antitrust Law

Lobbyists representing U.S. tech giants reportedly asked India to reexamine a proposed antitrust law.

The companies said regulations forbidding data use and preferential treatment of partners could drive up user costs, Reuters reported Tuesday (May 28), citing a letter from a lobbying group representing Amazon, Apple and Google.

The request follows an Indian governmental panel’s proposal in February of a new antitrust law in response to what the panel said is increasing market power of a handful of digital giants, according to the report.

The proposed “Digital Competition Bill” is similar to the European Union’s landmark Digital Markets Act, per the report. It will apply to big companies, including those with a worldwide turnover of over $30 billion and whose digital services have at least 10 million local users, terms which apply to tech giants such as Amazon and Google.

The law would bar companies from exploiting non-public data of its users, promoting their own services over competitors and restricting third-party app downloads, the report said.

In a letter to India’s Corporate Affairs Ministry, the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) said companies use these strategies to introduce new product features and enhance customer security, according to the report.

India’s proposed law is “much further in scope” than the EU’s, the letter from the USIBC — part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — argued, the report said.

“Targeted companies are likely to reduce investment in India, pass on increased prices for digital services, and reduce the range of services,” the letter said, per the report.

The USIBC did not reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

This effort is happening as tech giants face ongoing antitrust pressure around the globe. For example, Apple last week appealed a nearly $2 billion antitrust fine handed down by European regulators, who ruled the company was abusing its power in the streaming music market.

In April, Google, called for a dismissal of the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against it, arguing that the government had not shown that the company commands a 70% share of the digital advertising market.

The department sued Google last year, alleging the company had illegally seized control of the online ad sector and called for the company to be broken up.