UK regulator plans to investigate Apple and Google over mobile browsing – Update

By Kyle Morris

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said on Friday it was planning an investigation into Apple Inc. and Google over their position in the mobile browsing market.

The regulator is also reviewing Apple’s restrictions on cloud gaming through its App Store, as well as Alphabet Inc.’s Google App Store payment practices.

A CMA report found that Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exert a stranglehold on markets, which include operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices.

Without intervention, companies are likely to strengthen their positions in the sector, further restricting competition, the regulator said.

Around 97% of mobile web browsing in the UK in 2021 was on browsers powered by Apple or Google. Apple bans alternatives to its own browser engine on its devices, and the CMA said it fears this will severely limit the potential for competition.

The CMA will also investigate Apple’s cloud gaming practices, as it claims the company is blocking the emergence of cloud gaming services in its App Store that pose a threat to revenue.

The regulator’s market investigation will assess competition concerns related to mobile browsers and cloud gaming and decide whether action is necessary. That could include issuing legally binding orders requiring changes to Apple and Google’s practices, he said.

“When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards. As good as most of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to exclude competitors, holding back the UK tech sector and limiting choice,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

Apple said it respectfully disagrees with a number of conclusions drawn in the report. “We will continue to engage constructively with the Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our approach promotes competition and choice, while ensuring that consumer privacy and security are always protected,” a- he declared.

Google said it would review the report and continue to engage with the AMC.

The consultation on the draft market survey will close on July 22.

Write to Kyle Morris at [email protected]

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