UK launches market inquiry into Apple and Google’s mobile dominance – POLITICO

Apple and Google could be forced to loosen their grip on mobile systems after Britain’s competition watchdog launched an in-depth market investigation on Tuesday.

The decision by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) comes after an earlier investigation concluded that Apple and Google “hold all the cards” in mobile ecosystems, allowing them “to exert a stranglehold on operating systems, app stores and web browsers”.

The CMA’s findings indicate that 97% of all mobile web browsing in the UK in 2021 took place on browsers powered by Apple’s Safari or Google’s Chrome. Respondents to the CMA study also pointed to how Apple restricts cloud gaming through its App Store.

“Many UK businesses and web developers are telling us they feel held back by the restrictions imposed by Apple and Google,” CMA acting chief executive Sarah Cardell said on Tuesday. “We plan to investigate whether the concerns we have heard are justified and, if so, identify measures to improve competition.”

In a statement, Apple said it would “continue to engage constructively with the Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our approach promotes competition and choice.” Google did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.

The CMA is required to terminate a market investigation within 18 months. If it finds that there is anti-competitive behavior in the market, it can impose corrective measures on companies and make recommendations to the government on regulation.

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced last Thursday that the government would introduce regulation to tackle anti-competitive Big Tech abuse, in the form of a Competition and Consumer in Digital Markets Bill, before May 2019. next year.

AMC’s Cardell said on Tuesday that the new rules would address “kinds of issues” raised by Apple and Google’s dominance of mobile ecosystems. The CMA’s digital markets unit could receive new regulatory powers as early as next October.

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