Big tech under Parliamentary panel lens for alleged anti-competition play
A Parliamentary panel on anti-competition today questioned top executives of the Indian arms of Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Microsoft about the business models of their companies and their impact on small players, sources said.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by Lok Sabha member Jayant Sinha, has been inspecting different aspects of competition in the Indian market, with a focus on the technology sector. Representatives of the global big tech companies were asked to appear before the panel on Tuesday.
In recent times, there have been complaints about alleged anti-competitive practices of various technology platforms and firms. According to a notice issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, the agenda of the meeting was “Oral evidence of the representatives of big tech companies on the subject ‘Anti-Competitive’ practices by big tech companies.”
A person familiar with the matter said, “The members of the panel were worried about whether or not small sellers actually benefit from big tech. They also asked about the initiatives taken to ensure the benefit of small sellers.”
Earlier the panel had held discussions with homegrown start-ups including food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato, e-commerce player Flipkart, cab aggregator Ola, hotel aggregator Oyo, and the All India Gaming Association. The representatives of these companies had raised issues like predatory pricing and a lack of platform equality by big tech giants.
The person, who did not wish to be named, said, “The members of the panel didn’t go into issues over deep discounting and other concerns of pricing. It was a constructive discussion and there was no grilling from the members of the committee.”
The developments come days after the Union Cabinet cleared the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The Bill aims to bring more flexibility, agency, and accountability to the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The committee is likely to submit its report to the parliament before the bill comes for discussion.