Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Technology

Move to review CCI amid concerns over Google's dominance a welcome move: ADIF

IANS | February 12, 2024 04:49 PM

NEW DELHI: The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a policy think-tank representing homegrown startups, on Monday welcomed the initiation of a performance review of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to convene a meeting in this regard this month.

The MCA's decision to scrutinise the functioning of CCI comes at a critical juncture when concerns about the regulator's efficacy in addressing complaints against tech giants, particularly Google, have reached a crescendo, the ADIF said in a statement.

“We stand at a crossroads where the principles of fairness, innovation, and entrepreneurship converge. We support the MCA’s bold step in reviewing the CCI, recognising the urgent need to address the power dynamics that threaten the very essence of fair competition, ” said an ADIF spokesperson.

The heart of the matter lies in the allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and non-compliance with CCI's previous rulings leveled against tech giant Google.

Digital startups and app developers, the lifeblood of our digital economy, have repeatedly raised their voices, seeking redress for a lack of decisive action on the part of the regulator.

“These developers are not merely seeking an audience; they are demanding justice in the face of what can only be described as draconian regulations imposed by Google, ” said the ADIF.

Several cases against tech giants, including Google, Meta, and Apple, have been languishing in the corridors of regulatory limbo for years.

“The startups now argue before the Supreme Court that this redirection is emblematic of CCI's alleged dereliction in fulfilling its statutory mandate. The MCA's decision to review CCI's performance comes as welcome news for the Indian digital ecosystem, ” the alliance noted.

“Big Tech companies are acting with complete impunity and have little disregard for the laws of our country. While we don’t advocate blocking these companies, their monopolistic behaviour needs to be brought in check with penal provisions that ensure they do not even consider such abusive moves, ” said Anupam Mittal, CEO of Shaadi.com.

Snehil Khanor, co-founder and CEO of TrulyMadly, added that despite clear order from the CCI to not restrict or impose any restriction on app developers for using third-party billing, Google has been continuously “abusing its dominant position and threatening us to use Google billing system or face delisting”.

Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO of BharatMatrimony, said that it is highly detrimental to the Indian startup ecosystem and “must be urgently looked into by the government and put to an end”.

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