UK Probes Apple’s and Google’s ‘Stranglehold’ Over Mobile Browsing

The country’s competition watchdog says the tech giants’ dominance hinders innovation and adds unnecessary costs for businesses.

The UK’s competition watchdog will launch an investigation into Apple’s and Google’s dominance of the mobile browser market.

The Competition and Markets Authority said Tuesday it will conduct a more in-depth investigation of the companies’ “stranglehold” on the market after a consultation revealed “substantial support for a fuller investigation” into how Apple and Google control the mobile browser market. The agency said Google and Apple powered 97% of all mobile web browsing conducted in the UK in 2021.

Web developers, cloud gaming service providers and browser vendors complain that the “status quo” of Google’s browser dominance and the restrictions Apple places on cloud gaming hinder innovation and add “unnecessary costs” to their businesses.

“Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google,” Sarah Cardell, interim chief executive of the CMA, said in a statement. “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.”

Apple said its approach to the market promotes competition and choice, while protecting consumers’ privacy.

“Apple believes in vibrant and competitive markets where innovation can thrive,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “Through the App Store, we’ve helped millions of developers turn their brightest ideas into apps that change the world, spurring an app economy that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK alone.’

Google representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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