Apple and Google’s dominance in the mobile browser space is prompting a UK regulator to launch an investigation into how it can stop the companies’ alleged ‘duopoly’ in the market.
“Without interventions, the two companies are likely to maintain, or even strengthen, their grip on the industry, further restricting competition and limiting incentives for innovators,” said the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). .(Opens in a new window) Friday.
Regulator launches investigation after completing study(Opens in a new window) on the mobile ecosystem. The study concluded that Apple and Google “have a stranglehold” on software available on iOS and Android operating systems, which may prevent rival companies from competing or standing out. For example, Apple requires all mobile browsers on iOS to use the company’s WebKit engine, the CMA noted.
“Many companies have shared their frustrations with us,” the study adds. “Tens of thousands of UK businesses such as app and website developers, who rely on these ecosystems to serve their customers, face restrictions and conditions they don’t have. other choice than to accept.”
The CMA acknowledged that Apple’s Safari browser and Google Chrome are also well received by consumers. Nevertheless, the regulator’s chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, said: “As good as most of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to exclude competitors, holding back the UK tech sector and limiting the choice.”
To act, the CMA plans to launch an official market investigation into Apple and Google’s dominance in the browser market. If the investigation concludes that the two browsers have an “adverse effect on competition”, the CMA can then impose remedies on Apple and Google or recommend that the UK government pass certain laws.
The regulator added: “The CMA has broad powers to change business behavior, such as governing how a product is sold in a particular market and what information is available to customers buying that product. The CMA also has the power to impose structural remedies which may require companies to sell part of their business to improve competition.
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In addition, the investigation will examine Apple’s cloud gaming restrictions for the iOS App Store, which have prevented companies from offering game streaming. Indeed, the current rules prohibit offering many cloud-based games under a single application.
However, Apple and Google said(Opens in a new window) Reuters, they take issue with CMA’s claims that the two companies unfairly undermined third-party developers. “We respectfully disagree with a number of conclusions drawn in the report, which fail to take into account our investments in innovation, privacy and user performance, all of which contribute to why users love the app. ‘iPhone and iPad and create a level playing field for small developers on a trusted platform,’ an Apple spokesperson said. Still, both companies plan to engage with the UK regulator.
The CMA is currently in “consultation” on the planned market study. Once the investigation is launched, the CMA must conclude the procedure within 18 months, although the deadline can be extended for another six months.
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