The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) has reiterated the need for a digital competition law in India, saying that the absence of such a law would cost Indian startups immensely. ADIF has said that big tech companies would be the biggest beneficiaries in such a scenario. The organisation is seeking the right of Indian startups, such as the absence of conflicts of interest, fair and transparent internet ecosystems, and non-bundling of services by big tech companies. ADIF has also noted that the cost to serve additional customers on a digital platform decreases with an increase in users, meaning that new players would never be able to compete with larger platforms.
Indian government has been taking steps to regulate and monitor big tech players in the country. The proposal for a new digital competition law and the setting up of specialized digital markets units within the Competition Commission of India (CCI) are some of these steps. The government is aiming to promote fair competition and a level playing field for Indian startups in the digital economy. While developers are currently charged a 15-30% commission for using Google’s platform and payment, app developers who opt to use an alternate payment method or third-party payment services for subscriptions and paid apps will get a 4% discount commission under the new billing policy. Google’s new app billing systems have come under scrutiny in India, with the App Developers Alliance of India (ADIF) requesting the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to investigate. ADIF has expressed concerns that the 11-26% service fee for in-app purchases will be detrimental to the Indian startup ecosystem. Currently, developers are charged a 15-30% commission for using Google’s platform and payment system. However, under the new billing policy, app developers who choose to use alternate payment methods or third-party payment services for subscriptions and paid apps will receive a 4% discount on the commission. The CCI will investigate whether this new policy is anti-competitive and harms the interests of Indian consumers and startups.