UK plans to investigate Apple, Google’s mobile browser advantage

London — UK competition monitoring agency said it plans to investigate the market advantage of Apple Inc. and Google’s mobile browsers, as well as the limitation of cloud gaming through the iPhone maker’s app store. ..

The Competitive Markets Authority (CMA) said Friday that it is also taking enforcement action against Google at Alphabet Inc. over app store payment practices.

The two tech giants are said to bring “effective duopoly” to the mobile ecosystem and dominate the operating systems, app stores, and web browsers on mobile devices.

“Apple and Google have all the cards about how people use mobile phones,” CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said following the publication of a report on the mobile ecosystem. rice field.

“Many of their services and products are excellent, but they have a solid grasp of the mobile ecosystem, keeping them out of the competition, restraining the UK tech sector and limiting their options.”

97% of all mobile web browsing in the UK last year used either Apple’s or Google’s browser engine, and Apple said it banned the replacement of its own browser on the iPhone.

The CMA said it was concerned that this would significantly limit the likelihood that competing browsers would differentiate itself from Apple’s Safari, such as speed and features. ..

Customer has an Apple iPhone 13 pro
Customers have a new green Apple iPhone 13 pro shortly after it was launched in the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York on March 18, 2022. (MikeSegar / Reuters)

Through its ecosystem, Apple “created a safe and reliable experience that users love and great business opportunities for developers,” Apple said in a statement.

“We respect and disagree with the many conclusions drawn in the report that discount investment in innovation, privacy and user performance. All of these are small developments where users love iPhones and iPads. It contributes to the reason for creating a fair competition for people to compete. A reliable platform. “

“We continue to be constructively involved with the CMA to explain how our approach facilitates competition and choice, while always protecting consumer privacy and security.”

According to Google, smartphones using the Android operating system offer people and businesses more choices than any other mobile platform, and the Google Play app store is the starting point for millions of apps.

“We regularly review how we best support developers and respond quickly to CMA feedback in the past,” said a Google spokeswoman.

“Review the report and continue to be involved in CMA.”

Regulators also said they were concerned that Apple was blocking the emergence of cloud gaming services. Cloud gaming services enable streaming of high quality games rather than downloading them individually.

“By preventing growth in this sector, Apple runs the risk that mobile users will not be able to fully enjoy the benefits of cloud gaming,” he said.

The CMA said the proposed investigation would further assess that concern and could result in legally binding orders requiring changes to Apple and Google practices.

Discussions on the proposed market research reference will end on 22 July.

By Yadarisa Shabong