UK Watchdog Probes Apple & Google’s Mobile Platform Dominance

Britain’s competition regulator is investigating Apple and Google over allegations the two companies have a harmful duopoly in mobile platforms.

Between them, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are installed on 99.45% of all mobile phones in use in the UK. The two companies also have effective duopolies in app stores (Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store) and mobile web browsers (Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome), according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The UK competition watchdog has announced a year-long study, already under way, into whether the control exerted by the two companies is stifling competition.

Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, said, “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. We’re looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through their phones.

“Our ongoing work into big tech has already uncovered some worrying trends and we know consumers and businesses could be harmed if they go unchecked.”

The CMA is looking at whether the duopoly is leading to price increases, for instance for devices and apps, or for broader goods and services, due to higher advertising prices. The regulator will also examine “any effects of the firms’ market power over other businesses – such as app developers – which rely on Apple or Google to market their products to customers via their phones.”

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