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UK regulator CMA proposes investigation into Apple and Google over mobile dominance


UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is consulting on the launch of a market investigation into Apple and Google over cloud gaming restrictions and app store payment practices.

The CMA would investigate Apple to learn more about how it limits cloud gaming through its App Store policies, and will also take enforcement action against Google over how it handles app store payments.

The planned investigation follows a year-long study of both companies’ mobile ecosystems.

According to the CMA, the final report found that Apple and Google have an “effective duopoly” that allows them to maintain a “stranglehold” on the mobile market, which includes operating systems, app stores, and web browsers on mobile devices.

The CMA claims that without any interventions both Apple and Google will likely maintain — and perhaps even strengthen — their grip on the sector.

“When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards. 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,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

“We all rely on browsers to use the internet on our phones, and the engines that make them work have a huge bearing on what we can see and do. Right now, choice in this space is severely limited and that has real impacts — preventing innovation and reducing competition from web apps. We need to give innovative tech firms, many of which are ambitious start-ups, a fair chance to compete.”

The proposed market investigation will further assess the CMA’s competition concerns and decide what action — if any — is needed to remedy the situation, which could result in legally binding orders being issued to both Apple and Google.


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