There has been rising concern about the growth of the unfair business over the digital space. The Chairperson for the Competition Commission of India (CCI) Ashok Kumar Gupta has said that a “one size fits all” approach would not be possible for the digital market. A case to case assessment is required based on the facts of each situation.
The nature of the digital market depends on features like network effects, data-driven complementarities. This leads to one person becoming dominant. This has been acknowledged and there have been concerns of anti-competitive behaviour growing.
He stated that the challenge for CCI is to ensure that new entrants get space in the digital market and there is competition on and in between digital platforms. These challenges and concerns have grown since the pandemic as most of the business have turned to digital platforms.
The question of digital companies gathering huge data and emerging as monopolies affecting other companies was put up, to which Gupta replied that the CCI is aware of the role of big data in the gig economy. The knowledge obtained from such data can be a source of advantage for large platforms. The concern is bigger when digital firms use this data in an anti-competitive way.
The firms leverage the data to get a footing in other markets to enhance their power. Access to the data is also denied in certain situations to eliminate the competition itself. This collection of data may lead to a service quality that is not up to the mark. This may also lead to putting up with unfair conditions which if seen from the perspective of competition law can be termed exploitative.