Home / Industry / Infotech /  India will play a vital role in regulating technology: Microsoft’s Brad Smith

India will play an important role in regulating technology, said Microsoft president Brad Smith. “In my view, India has really been at the forefront, together with the EU, in advancing principles around digital sovereignty," Smith said on Thursday in a media interaction.

“Our reaction is that we need to adapt, we need to address the market’s needs and respond to the government’s concerns. And you see that in the public cloud region that we have set up for India, and in our conversations with the government," he added.

Smith said India’s intermediary guidelines will impact products such as LinkedIn and GitHub, which are owned by Microsoft, but the company respects the laws.

While Twitter and Facebook-owned WhatsApp have publicly voiced their concerns over the new laws, Smith said Microsoft has been “engaging" with the government through industry bodies such as Nasscom and offering suggestions to the government.

“I think that we have probably been more supportive in regulations playing a role than the other companies you mentioned. From our perspective, there’s good reason for that. We’ve been saying throughout that we need to start with the recognition that different countries have different needs, they want to ensure that technology is subject to their laws and addresses their values. I think, it’s our job to figure out how to make that work. We are less controversial, perhaps, and therefore we get less attention," he added.

Micro-blogging platform Twitter collided with the Indian government over the new IT Rules, while WhatsApp has sued the government over the traceability norms under the rules.

Smith said South Korea and Japan have launched new laws over the past week to regulate how Google and Apple operate their app stores, and termed them as perhaps the most significant tech regulations so far in 2021. “I think that is a reflection of what we’re going to continue to see. We’re going to continue to see it across Asia, and the rest of the world."

While people developing apps for Windows are not required to use Microsoft’s app store, with the launch of Windows 11, the company had said that it will allow developers to keep 100% of their revenues by using alternative payment systems even if they distribute them through Microsoft’s Store.

South Korea and Japan have passed regulations to stop Google and Apple from forcing their built-in payment systems on developers who use their app stores to promote apps. Google and Apple are also facing allegations in the US and India. Smith claimed that Microsoft is trying to ensure its cloud service, Azure, and operating system (OS) Windows, remain an “open platform".

The top Microsoft executive also said a leading international relation theme from Washington DC this year is the “focus on closer collaboration" between the US, Japan, Australia and India. He said bilateral technology relationships between the US and China is important and the two countries need to provide clarity on how they intend to manage import and export of technology.

Prasid Banerjee
An engineering dropout, Prasid Banerjee has reported on technology in India for various publications. He reports on technology through text and audio, focusing on its core aspects, like consumer impact, policy and the future.
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