Law & Legal Studies

A defense of ex-ante regulations and the Digital Competition Bill

A defense of ex-ante regulations and the Digital Competition Bill

The Bill seeks to protect the competitive process of digital markets in a timely manner before it is too late to do so.


Shilpi Bhattacharya, Professor Jindal Global Law School, O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


Critics of the Digital Competition Bill have argued that such a regulation is misguided and will negatively impact digital markets. That digital markets are inherently beneficial to consumers and small and medium enterprises who rely on them. That, while similar regulatory efforts have taken shape globally, they are not suited to Indian market conditions. That many different kinds of markets are anti-competitive, so why should we focus on digital markets? Instead, we should focus on strengthening existing ex post competition law mechanisms.

It is necessary to clarify certain principles on which this Bill is based. Digital markets have created companies incomparable in size and significance to most entities in other markets. Despite competition law enforcement against them, their power is only increasing with time. This is because competition in digital markets is different from other markets as competition is for the marker rather than in the market. This means that once a player is able to acquire a substantially large user base for its product, that product becomes the industry standard, and it is very hard for rivals to dislodge it from the market. Competition is then essentially for crumbs that the winner leaves behind in the market. This power can then be extended from one market to others.

Published in: Bar & Bench

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