January 31, 2020

Antitrust and Zero-price Digital Platforms: An Indian Regulatory Approach

This paper looks at digital platforms that provide “free” services and analyses the application of Indian competition law to them. It elaborates on why the scale and characteristics of zero-price digital platforms pose unique challenges to traditional regulatory practices. A critical examination of the traditional approach to estimating consumer welfare loss and why that falls short in this case follows. The paper ends with a discussion on the evolution of Indian competition law and arguments for why a ‘form- based approach’ is more appropriate than an ‘effects-based approach’ while regulating zero-price digital platforms. It specifically advocates for adopting users’ loss of control over data as a per se standard to limit abuse of market power by zero-price platforms.

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