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Indian Big Tech draft regulation makes Big Tech bosses cry scandal

I hope you’re sitting down, because Reuters reports that Google, Amazon, Apple lobby group opposes India’s EU-like antitrust proposal:

A U.S. lobby group representing tech giants Google, Amazon and Apple has asked India to rethink its proposed EU-like competition law, arguing regulations against data use and preferential treatment of partners could raise user costs

The proposed Indian legislation (PDF) is “much further in scope” than the EU’s, according to a tear-stained letter sent by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-India Business Council to India’s Corporate Affairs Ministry.

Reuters explains

India’s “Digital Competition Bill” is on the lines of EU’s landmark Digital Markets Act 2022. It will apply to big 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.

It proposes to prohibit companies from exploiting non-public data of its users and promoting their own services over rivals, and also abolish restrictions on downloading of third-party apps.

Cynics might suggest that US Tech regards India as a potential sacred cash cow, given that its home markets are becoming saturated and China is notoriously harder to operate in. Reuters points out

With a population of 1.4 billion people and a growing affluent class, India is a lucrative market for big tech companies. Apple CEO Tim Cook said this month the company posted a “revenue record” in India during the March quarter, when its overall global revenue declined 4%.

The U.S.-India Business Council (whose directors include representatives of such trusted organisations as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Meta, Google and Amway) is, of course, only thinking of Indian consumers:

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

Naturally, that’s not to be interpreted as some sort of threat. Nope, that’s beloved captains of US Capitalism throwing their collective benign arms around Indian consumers, protectively. A heart-warming story for today’s troubled times.

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