Apple wins appeal against CMA’s probe into mobile browser dominance

The United Kingdom Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) ruled last Friday that Apple won its appeal against the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to launch an investigation into the tech giant’s mobile browser and cloud gaming businesses.

The CMA announced its investigation into Google and Apple’s mobile browser dominance as well as whether the iPhone-maker limits cloud gaming through its App Store last November, months after releasing a report which claimed that the duo ‘’hold all the cards’’ in the mobile ecosystem market.

Following the announcement, Apple said that the regulator had ‘’no power’’ to launch the probe since it should have done that at the same time it published the report. 

On Friday, the Tribunal endorsed the argument of the company, saying that ‘’in declining to make such a reference only in the expectation of receiving further powers or on the basis of a preliminary and (as it transpired) mistaken view of the potential for intervention, it might well be said that the CMA erred in law and/or took into account immaterial considerations, such as future powers that might potentially accrue to it.’’

The CMA said in a statement that it was disappointed with the ruling and that it will explore its options such as appealing the decision.

’We made this market investigation reference to make sure that UK consumers get a better choice of mobile internet services and that UK developers can invest in innovative new apps. Our concerns, and the reasons why we launched our market investigation, were not challenged by Apple,’’ the regulator said. ‘’Today’s judgment has found there are material constraints on the CMA’s general ability to refer markets for in-depth investigations. This risks substantially undermining the CMA’s ability to efficiently and effectively investigate and intervene in markets where competition is not working well.’’

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Apple said: ‘’Apple believes in vibrant and competitive markets where innovation can flourish. Through the Apple ecosystem we have created a safe and trusted experience users love and a great business opportunity for developers. In the UK alone, the iOS app economy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and makes it possible for developers big and small to reach customers around the world. We are pleased with the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s decision and will continue working to deliver support for developers and a safe and secure experience for users.’’

Written by Tuna Cetin


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