UK Launches Antitrust Investigation Into Apple, Google Mobile Browsers

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Google logo  - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.11.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Tuesday launched an antitrust investigation into the mobile browser dominance of Apple and Google, since restrictions imposed by these US tech giants might hinder growth of the cloud gaming sector and limit users' experience.
"The Competition and Markets Authority consulted on launching a market investigation alongside its Mobile Ecosystem Market Study report, which found that Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exercise a stranglehold over operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices," the CMA said in a statement posted on the UK government website.
The authority will check Apple and Google's positions on the mobile browser market and study restrictions imposed by Apple on cloud gaming in its APP Store, which, the CMA believes, "can have a major impact on users' experiences," the statement read.
In this March 23, 2010, file photo, the Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Brussels. Germany’s finance minister on Wednesday welcomed an agreement requiring large companies in the European Union to reveal how much tax they paid in which country. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2022
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"Computer games are a multi-billion pound industry in the UK, played by millions of people. There are already more than 800,000 users of cloud gaming services in the UK but restrictions on their distribution on mobile devices could hamper growth in this sector, meaning UK gamers miss out," the CMA added.
Web developers have repeatedly said that Apple's restrictions lead to more spending and inconvenience, as they have to fix errors and failures when creating web pages, and therefore need to build bespoke mobile apps when an ordinary website would otherwise be sufficient, according to the statement.
Seen on the screen of a device in La Habra, Calif., new iPhone 13 smartphones are introduced during a virtual event held to announce new Apple products on Sept. 14, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.08.2022
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"Ultimately, these restrictions limit choice and may make it more difficult to bring innovative new apps to the hands of UK consumers. At the same time, Apple and Google have argued that restrictions are needed to protect users. The CMA's market investigation will consider these concerns and consider whether new rules are needed to drive better outcomes," the authority said.
In September, UK media regulator Ofcom also launched an investigation against major IT-companies Google, Amazon and Microsoft in connection with suspicions of antitrust law violations. The probe is part of an effort to combat the dominance of major US businesses and will last 12 months, Ofcom said.
In 2023, the regulator is also planning to start studying more broadly digital markets, in particular the work of applications for communication and display of audiovisual content, such as WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom.
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