The United Kingdom’s competition watchdog is investigating Apple and Google’s dominance in mobile browsers after gaining substantial support from industry players in a consultation process which began in June.
Responses to the consultation process from browser vendors, web developers and cloud gaming service providers showed Apple and Google’s dominance was harming businesses, holding back innovation and adding to unnecessary costs, the Competition and Markets Authority stated.
According to Mobile World Live, it launched the consultation process following a year-long Mobile Ecosystem Market Study, which found Apple and Google had an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allowed them to exercise a stranglehold over operating systems, app stores, and web browsers on mobile devices.
The UK regulator explained in its statement announcing a probe that browsers were one of the most important and widely-used apps on mobile devices, with most people using them to access a range of content.
In the UK, 97 per cent of all mobile web browsing in 2021 happened on Apple or Google browsersm “So any restrictions on these engines can have a major impact on users’ experiences, “ the regulator said.
Sarah Cardell, interim CEO of CMA, said it planned to investigate both companies’ practices and assess whether concerns raised “are justified and if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors.”
In a related issue, the CMA also received feedback that Apple restricted cloud gaming services, of which there are 800,000 users in the country, hampering growth in the sector.
The regulator noted that web developers had complained about Apple restrictions and lack of investment in browser technologies, arguing that this limited choices and mase it more difficult to bring innovation to the UK market.