UK Competition Regulator confirms investigation into Apple

UK Competition Regulator confirms investigation into Apple and Google's hegemony in the Mobile Market

Developers, browser manufacturers, and cloud gaming services all support it.

UK Competition Regulator confirms investigation into Apple

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced earlier this year that it was conducting preliminary research for a potential investigation into Google and Apple's monopoly on the mobile phone industry. The regulator has now revealed that it has gotten "widespread support" for its suggestions and has commenced a market probe into the "duopoly" held by the two internet giants in mobile browsers and cloud gaming.

In a statement, Sarah Cardell, interim chief executive of the CMA, claimed that "many UK firms and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by constraints enforced by Apple and Google." If the complaints we have heard are valid, we intend to look into them and, if they are, to determine what can be done to increase competition and innovation in these fields.

The CMA stated that Apple and Google control the operating systems, app stores, and browsers for mobile devices. According to the report, Apple or Google's browser engines accounted for 97% of UK web browsing in 2021. As a result, "any limits on these engines can have a huge influence on users' experiences." Additionally, it stated that there are 800,000 users of cloud gaming services in the UK, but that "limitation on their distribution could hamper growth in this sector."

The CMA reported that cloud gaming services, web developers, and browser manufacturers sent many responses to its earlier consultation. Particularly developers said that web page issues and malfunctions forced them "to create custom mobile apps when a website may be sufficient."

Recent years have been difficult for IT enterprises because of the UK authority. It recently pushed Meta to sell Giphy after the latter's appeal was denied, is looking into Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard and a separate investigation into Google's ad-market rivalry. Regarding its most recent inquiry, it stated that "market investigations can result in changes to companies' behavior and restrictions, which increase competition and lead to greater choice for customers and better-quality products."

The Competition and Markets Authority would be "continued to engage constructively with to explain how our approach supports competition and choice," according to a statement from Apple. In response to POLITICO's request for comment, Google took some time to answer.

A market investigation must be completed by the CMA within 18 months. If it determines that there is anti-competitive activity occurring in the market, it may impose remedies on businesses and make regulatory recommendations to the government.

The government will introduce measures to address Big Tech's anti-competitive abuses in the shape of a Digital Markets Competition & Consumers Bill before May of next year, according to a statement made last Thursday by UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

According to Cardell of the CMA, the proposed regulations will address "sorts of concerns" brought up by Apple and Google's hegemony over the mobile ecosystems. As soon as October of next year, the CMA's Digital Markets Unit can be granted expanded regulatory authority.

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