The Competition and Markets Authority announced on Tuesday that it has launched a formal investigation into the duo’s market dominance in mobile browsers.
Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. face an in-depth investigation from Britain’s antitrust watchdog after a study concluded they have the ability to “exercise a stranglehold” over mobile operating systems, app stores, and web browsers.
The Competition and Markets Authority announced on Tuesday that it has launched a formal investigation into the duo’s dominance of the mobile browser market, as well as potential restrictions on the distribution of cloud gaming services via Apple’s App Store.
The CMA’s action follows the publication of a 356-page report on the competition for mobile operating systems and apps, which concluded that Google and Apple possessed an effective duopoly and played a “gatekeeper role.” Responses to the study indicated support for a more in-depth examination of how Apple and Google dominate the mobile browser market, as well as how Apple restricts cloud gaming through its App Store.
“Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel constrained by restrictions imposed by Apple and Google,” Sarah Cardell, interim chief executive officer of the CMA, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The CMA is currently waiting for the government to pass legislation granting its new Digital Markets Unit the authority to impose additional types of intervention. Following delays in getting it passed, UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said in his Autumn statement last week that the government would push this through as soon as possible.
“These types of issues are likely to be addressed once the new Digital Markets regime is in place.” Meanwhile, we are addressing issues with our existing capabilities,” Cardell explained.
Apple stated that it will “continue to engage constructively” with the CMA “to explain how our approach promotes competition and choice, while always ensuring consumers’ privacy and security are protected.”
According to Google, its Android operating system “gives people a greater choice of apps and app stores than any other mobile platform,” and it allows developers to “choose the browser engine they want, and has been the launchpad for millions of apps.”
Market investigations can last up to a year and can result in the imposition of harsh remedies such as restrictions or changes in company behavior.