Apple and Google are facing yet another antitrust probe from their old rival, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK.
This time, the CMA is calling into question the amount of power the tech giants have over the mobile market. After a year-long investigation, they published their final report (opens in new tab) on the UK’s government website where it’s free for everyone to read. The report is over 350 pages long. If you prefer something more digestible, the CMA also released a shorter version (opens in new tab) that hits on all the key points.
No official investigation or probe has been announced. The CMA is still in the planning stages and consulting on how to proceed.
The CMA claims Apple and Google are too big and it worries that this “duopoly” is not conducive to competition. The two companies, according to the report, have an effective “stranglehold” over mobile markets in the UK, which includes “operating systems, app stores and web browsers…”
Chief Executive of the CMA Andrea Coscelli states that because of their overwhelming presence, Apple and Google have made it difficult for British tech companies to compete with them and limits consumer choice. The CMA claims 97 percent “of all mobile web browsing in the UK in 2021” occurred using either Apple’s or Google’s respective browser engines.
Apple forces developers to use its WebKit browsing engine, which could, the CMA fears, disincentivize developers from creating a faster engine and better browsers on Apple’s platform. You can get another browser on an iPhone, like Google’s Chrome, but it’s also running WebKit.
Apple in particular is slated to get extra attention in the proposed investigation. The CMA claims, for instance, that Apple's ban on cloud-based gaming in its App Store is also anti-competitive.
It plans on using its proposed investigation to decide which areas under Apple’s control to break up and how to do it. This could involve legal orders to force change.
The consultation period of the investigation is set to end on July 22. From there, the CMA will decide whether or not it wants to add this particular investigation on top of those Apple and Google are already facing from them.
If you’d like to learn about antitrust investigations, Microsoft is also in hot water for its own cloud business.