Google, Apple face UK probe over mobile browser dominance

Image Source: Reuters

The Competition and Market Authority of the United Kingdom announced on Tuesday that it has launched a market investigation into Apple and Google’s mobile browser dominance.

In June, the watchdog released a detailed market research report which found that the tech giants have a duopoly in mobile ecosystems that enables them to ‘’exercise a stranglehold’’ over app stores, mobile browsers, and operating systems.

The CMA said in a press release that it has received ‘’substantial support’’ for its initial proposals and is now launching a fuller investigation into the companies’ mobile browser businesses, as well as how Apple limits cloud gaming through its App Store.

‘’Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google. When the new Digital Markets regime is in place, it’s likely to address these sorts of issues,’’ said Sarah Cardell, the CMA’s interim Chief Executive, in a statement. ‘’In the meantime, we are using our existing powers to tackle problems where we can. We plan to investigate whether the concerns we have heard are justified and, if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors.’’

‘’We want to make sure that UK consumers get the best new mobile data services, and that UK developers can invest in innovative new apps.’’ Cardell said.

Following the announcement, a spokesperson for Google said that its Android OS offers users the widest selection of apps and app stores than any other mobile platform.

It also enables developers to choose the browser engine they want, and has been the launchpad for millions of apps.’’ the spokesperson added. ‘’We’re committed to building thriving, open platforms that empower consumers and help developers build successful businesses.

Apple, on the other hand, said that it “believes in vibrant and competitive markets where innovation can thrive“. 

The company said its app marketplace helped millions of developers turn their ideas into mobile applications and this helped create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities in the United Kingdom alone.

We will continue to engage constructively with the Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our approach promotes competition and choice, while ensuring consumers’ privacy and security are always protected,” the iPhone-maker added.

Microsoft’s $69 billion Activision acquisition is also the subject of an antitrust probe by the CMA, as well as investigations by the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission.

Written by Maya Robertson


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