Google, Apple Face Deep CMA Test of Mobile Browser Dominance

Apple and Google’s mobile browsers are facing an in-depth investigation into their market dominance, launched by Britain’s competition watchdog, months after the regulator began an investigation. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Tuesday that responses to its consultation since June had shown “substantial support” for a full investigation into the matter and how iPhone maker Apple is blocking cloud gaming through its app store.

“Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel they are being held back by the restrictions imposed by Apple and Google,” said Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, in a statement.

“We plan to investigate whether the complaints we have heard are justified and, if so, identify measures to improve competition and innovation in these sectors.”

In response to June’s CMA plans, Google said it would continue to work with regulators.

Apple said on Tuesday it would “constructively engage” with the CMA to explain how its approach “promotes competition and choice, while ensuring that consumer privacy and security are protected.”

Google did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the latest development.

Back in June, the CMA said the two tech giants have an “effective duopoly” in mobile ecosystems that has given them the power to host operating systems, app stores, and web browsers on mobile devices.

“When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards,” CMA chief Andrea Coscelli said at the time, following the publication of a report on the mobile environment.

At the time, the CMA also said it was concerned this significantly reduced the ability of rival browsers to differentiate themselves from Apple’s Safari, for example in aspects such as speed and performance. Apple responded by saying that it “created a safe and reliable experience that users love and a great business opportunity for developers” with its creation program.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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