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CMA launches probe to tackle ‘stranglehold’ of Apple and Google

Apple CEO Tim Cook  (Getty Images)
Apple CEO Tim Cook (Getty Images)

The UK competition watchdog has launched an investigation into the ‘stranglehold’ of tech giants Apple and Google over the mobile browser market.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would c consider whether new rules are needed to drive better outcomes for users and developers.

Web developers have complained of Apple and Google’s restrictions, which lead to added costs and frustration as they have to deal with bugs and glitches when building web pages. Apple and Google have argued that restrictions are needed to protect users.

Sarah Cardell, interim Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google.

“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.”

It follows a year-long probe by the CMA which found that Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exercise a ‘stranglehold’ over these markets, which include operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices.

97% of all mobile web browsing in the UK in 2021 happens on browsers powered by either Apple’s or Google’s browser engine.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards.

“As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice.”