‘Stranglehold’ of Apple and Google over web browsing to be investigated by the UK
Earlier this week, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority went after Apple and Google’s dominance of the mobile browser market.
The authority will explore the companies’ “stranglehold” over browsing, as well as Apple’s control over cloud gaming through the App Store, it said in a release. The agency said Google and Apple powered 97% of all web browsing that took place in the U.K. in 2021.
A June consultation released by the authority showed that web developers, cloud gaming service providers, and browser vendors offered “substantial support” for the investigation. They claim the status quo limits innovation and has been adding “unnecessary costs” to their businesses.
Developers also complained that Apple’s restrictions make it difficult to build innovative new apps for U.K. consumers and that they are forced to contend with glitches and bugs while building web pages.
Sarah Cardell, interim chief executive of the CMA, said in the release that the authority plans to use its powers to tackle problems where it can.
“Many U.K. companies and web developers tell us they feel at a disadvantage because of Apple and Google’s restrictions,” she told us. We plan to investigate whether the concerns we have heard are justified and if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors.”
In an interview with CNBC, a Google spokesperson said the company is committed to building “thriving, open platforms” that will help “empower consumers” and spur developers to launch successful businesses.
“Android gives people a greater choice of apps and app stores than any other mobile platform. The platform also gives developers the option of choosing the browser engine that best suits them, and it has been the launchpad for millions of applications,” the representative said.
An Apple spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the company believes in “vibrant and competitive markets where innovation can thrive.”
Through the App Store, we’ve enabled millions of developers to turn their brightest ideas into apps that change the world, sparking an app economy that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK alone. The Competition and Markets Authority and we will continue to communicate constructively about how our approach promotes competition and choice while ensuring consumer privacy and security.