Indian arms of Apple, Google, others to appear before parliamentary panel regarding anti-competitive practices

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A parliamentary panel has asked the top India management of Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft to appear before it. According to Jayant Sinha, the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, these executives will be giving testimony regarding the anti-competitive practices that these Big Tech players allegedly indulge in.

The tech industry in India presents a strong picture, having grown steadily over the years. In fact, it clocked a spectacular growth in FY22 – a growth of 15.5% – to reach $227 billion amidst a bustling domestic startup ecosystem. The tech industry also added a record 445,000 to its total direct workforce, taking the number to over five million. Much of that though, comes from the country’s IT industry.

With this impressive growth in the tech sector, there arises a need for the corresponding laws of the land to catch up and remain relevant.

For many years, Big Tech companies have reigned supreme as they prioritized profits and growth, circumventing local laws or finding loopholes. This often resulted in the dominance of these companies in the market, which led to a drop in competition, and came at the detriment of retailers and small businesses, who found it difficult to keep up and compete with foreign behemoths.

The scene has somewhat changed in recent times, as governments across the world have worked to rein in the expansion and curb the domination of Big Tech in the markets. One such instance is the domination of powerhouses such as Apple and Google in the digital sector and the regulatory steps taken to crack down on anti-competitive practices that these (and others) have allegedly practiced.

Now, the top execs of these tech giants have been scheduled to depose before the panel regarding the same. A notice issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat described the agenda of the meeting as “Oral evidence of the representatives of big tech companies on the subject ‘Anti-Competitive’ practices by big tech companies.”

The Committee has already listened to the testimony of representatives of various leaders in their respective fields as it continues its probe into the competition in the marketplace.

These include representatives from Zomato and Swiggy (leaders in the food delivery space), Flipkart (a leader in the e-commerce field), ridesharing major Ola, hospitality company Oyo, and the All-India Gaming Association, a leading body for the online gaming space in the country.

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