UK regulator to scrutinise Apple and Google mobile operating systems

UK regulator to scrutinise Apple and Google mobile operating systems

Competition and Markets Authority  UK.jpg

British regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking at the "effective duopoly" that Apple and Google have over mobile ecosystems.

Specifically, CMA is looking into the supply of operating systems (iOS and Android), app stores (App Store and Play Store), and web browsers (Safari and Chrome), could be resulting in consumers losing out across a wide range of areas.

The CMA is concerned "this could lead to reduced innovation across the sector and consumers paying higher prices for devices and apps, or for other goods and services due to higher advertising prices".

The authority is also concerned that Apple and Google have market power "which is harming users and other businesses".

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA said: “Apple and Google control the major gateways through which people download apps or browse the web on their mobiles – whether they want to shop, play games, stream music or watch TV. We’re looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through their phones.

The news comes as anti-trust cases in multiple jurisdictions begin to examine the advertising and competition practices of tech giants such as Apple and Google, as well as Amazon.

On this latest investigation, Coscelli added: “Our ongoing work into big tech has already uncovered some worrying trends and we know consumers and businesses could be harmed if they go unchecked. That’s why we’re pressing on with launching this study now, while we are setting up the new Digital Markets Unit, so we can hit the ground running by using the results of this work to shape future plans.”

Despite the increased scrutiny, attention has not yet turned to other services provided by the firms, such as cloud.

CMA is inviting comments on this matter before 26 July and will have 12 months to conclude its study.

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