Daily Management Review

UK Competition Watchdog Investigating Apple And Google


UK Competition Watchdog Investigating Apple And Google
Apple and Google are being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the United Kingdom over allegations of the companies misusing their dominant position in the mobile phone market.
Reports said that the competition watchdog is "taking a closer look" at the "effective duopoly" that the two companies possess. The investigation is related to the operating systems Android and iOS, the app stores of both the companies, and Safari and Chrome web browsers of the firms. Investigators are examining whether the pair are "stifling competition across a range of digital markets", the reports said.
"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 said.
In addition to supporting 240,000 jobs, its Android ecosystem generates £2.8bn in revenue for UK developers, Google said. Additionally, major changes have been made by the company in its terms on the basis of discussions with other regulators such as the one in the European Union, the tech giant also said.
The regulator has also got in touch with Apple for its comments on the issue.
The question about whether both of the tech companies possess significant market power over other businesses - including the app developers which rely on the app stores of the two companies, was also specifically highlighted in the announcement by the regulator.
Over the past year this has been a major issue in the mobile industry with a high-profile legal action against both Apple and Google being launched by Epic Games alleging the unfair business practices of the companies was hurting its business.
"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," said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli. "We're looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through their phones," Coscelli added.
The company welcomed the CMA's "efforts to understand" before implementing new rules, said a Google spokeswoman. "Android provides people with more choice than any other mobile platform in deciding which apps they use, and enables thousands of developers and manufacturers to build successful businesses," she said.
The CMA is already conducting an investigation against Apple over its App Store and whether the demands made by the company from app developers amount to anti-competitive policies and practices.
Likewise, the authority is proving Google for its proposed new privacy system amid concerns that this new system could impact news publishers as well as the wider digital advertising market.
While both those topics were "within the scope" of the new investigation, it was also "much broader", the CMA has said.
The watchdog would also keenly hear about their experiences in dealing with the two companies directly. Questions about which app stores developers work with and whether there are web-based alternatives that can offer the same experience were posted in a questionnaire by the CMA.