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UK watchdog launches probe into Apple and Google mobile dominance, big techs staring at trouble?

London, UKEdited By: Heena SharmaUpdated: Nov 23, 2022, 08:15 PM IST

Photograph:(Twitter)

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Apple and Google could possibly be staring down at trouble as UK competition watchdog launched a probe on Tuesday to investigate whether these tech firms have anti-competitive behaviour

Trouble is looming large on Apple and Google as British competition watchdog, following a survey into the mobile ecosystems, launched a probe Tuesday to investigate whether these tech giants follow anti-competitive behaviour. With this, it is reportedly possible that both the tech giants could loose their stronghold in the mobile space. 

The British watchdog, Competition and Markets Authority, made this decision after concluding the findings of a 356-page report into competition for mobile operating systems and apps. In a scathing attack on the tech giants, the report said that the duo “hold all the cards” in mobile ecosystems. CMA said that this helps Apple and Google to exercise a "stranglehold" over operating systems, app stores and web browsers, said a report in Politico. 

According to CMA research, Apple's Safari or Google's Chrome-powered mobile browsers accounted for 97 per cent of all UK mobile web surfing in 2021. The CMA study's respondents also emphasised how Apple limits cloud gaming through its App Store.

Sarah Cardell, interim chief executive of the CMA, said Tuesday that many UK businesses and web developers say 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," she added. 

In a reaction to this, Apple said that it would continue to engage constructively with CMA to explain how its approach is based on a culture where competition and choice thrives. However, Google have not yet made any comments. 

What after the investigation concludes? 

The in-depth market investigation is required to be finished within 18 months by CMA. In case, the study makes a conclusion that there is an involvement of anti-competitive behaviour in the market, CMA can impose remedies on firms and make recommendations to the government on regulation, reported Politico.

This comes in the backdrop of UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's announcement last Thursday where he promised that government would present regulations to combat Big Tech's anti-competitive abuses. He said that it will be done before May next year with the help of Digital Markets Competition and Consumers Bill. The watchdog CMA’s Cardell said that the new protocols will address “sorts of issues” raised in Apple and Google’s dominance over mobile ecosystems. As per media reports, these new regulatory powers could be received by CMA’s Digital Markets Unit as early as October next year. 

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