By: Will Hayter (Competition & Markets Authority Blog)
Few people would doubt just how fundamental smartphones are to our lives. They are increasingly the main way we interact with friends and family, access news, play games, buy products and services online – and now pay for them in shops. Love it or loathe it, our phones have become a key gateway for people and UK businesses alike. Moreover, for some of the poorest households in the country they are the only way to get online and a vital lifeline to essential public resources and services. This makes the fact that the systems upon which these devices rely are almost entirely controlled by just 2 companies – Apple and Google – concerning. Apple and Google are the gatekeepers to everything coming through our phones, creating a digital stranglehold that is only getting stronger over time.
The problems uncovered in our Mobile Ecosystems Market Study
The powerful position Apple and Google have in these markets, and their impact on competition, has been the subject of our year-long study into mobile ecosystems covering operating systems, browsers and apps on our mobile devices. We concluded that it is extremely difficult for rivals such as other browsers or alternative app stores to compete. Tens of thousands of small businesses reliant on these ecosystems, such as app and web developers, are entirely at the whim of the rules and processes set by these 2 companies. Apple and Google are not only...