UK to Investigate Apple, Google Over Browsers and Cloud Gaming

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Jun 10, 2022

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In a statement released on Friday, the UK’s competition regulator said it is considering launching a probe.

Giants Exercise a Stranglehold

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is “consulting” on the launch of an investigation into the dominance of tech giants Apple and Google in mobile web browsers. The scope will also cover Apple's restrictions on cloud gaming through its App Store.

Furthermore, it plans to take “enforcement action” on Google’s policies regarding app store payments.

The CMA is the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog. 

In a statement, the regulator says that its investigation comes after conducting research into both multinationals’ ecosystems. The results show that both companies have a “stranglehold” over the web browser, app stores, OS, and other markets.

“When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards,” said Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s Chief Executive. “As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice.”

The CMA asserts that both companies dominate the web browser market in the UK. To maintain this grip, Apple bans alternatives to its browser engine on its iPhones and iPads. The watchdog is adamant that this both strangles competition and discourages innovation.

In addition, Apple has blocked cloud gaming providers from offering the emerging innovation on the App Store. It does this because regular gaming apps present an important source of revenue for the company.

Enforcement Action Against Google

In a parallel development, the regulator has launched a probe into how Google governs the listing of apps on its Play store. The competition law investigation will examine the conditions Google sets for making in-app purchases.

The CMA already has an open competition law investigation against Apple that started in March last year. That one has to do with the terms and conditions on the App Store. It began the investigation after developers called out the terms on the document for being unfair and anti-competitive.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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