UK watchdog seeks to make mobile browsers competitive • The Register

The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said it intends to launch an investigation of Apple’s and Google’s market power with respect to mobile browsers and cloud gaming, and to take enforcement action against Google for its app store payment practices.

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

The decision to open a formal investigation follows the CMA’s year-long study of the mobile ecosystem. The competition watchdog’s findings have been published in a report that concludes Apple and Google have a duopoly that limits competition.

“We have found that Apple and Google have substantial and entrenched market power in mobile operating systems as there is limited effective competition between the two and rivals face significant barriers to entry and expansion,” the final report [PDF] says.

This is the third Google-oriented inquiry by the CMA this year. In March, the CMA and the EU announced an investigation of Google and Meta (Facebook) of an alleged ad collusion called Jedi Blue. And the CMA said it is looking into Google ad tech last month as well.

The CMA in March, 2021 opened competition law investigation into the terms and conditions governing Apple’s App Store.

Back in March, 2022 when the CMA was still accepting input from tech firms on how it should proceed, Apple urged the UK regulator to look past the “often self-serving complaints from a limited number of the largest market participants,” as Apple’s law firm Gibson Dunn put it.

Google also maintained that the status quo works well [PDF] while taking…