By Kyle Morris

 

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said Friday that it is planning an investigation into Apple Inc. and Google concerning their position in the mobile browsing market.

The regulator is also looking into Apple's restrictions on cloud gaming through its App Store, as well as the app store payment practices of Alphabet Inc.'s Google.

A report by the CMA found that Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that enables them to exercise a stranglehold over the markets, which include operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices.

Without intervention, the companies are likely to strengthen their positions in the sector, further restricting competition, the regulator said.

Some 97% of U.K. mobile web browsing in 2021 was on browsers powered by either Apple or Google. Apple bans alternatives to its own browser engine on its devices and the CMA said it is concerned this severely limits the potential for competition.

The CMA will also investigate Apple's practices in regards to cloud gaming, as it says the company blocks the emergence of cloud gaming services in its App Store which pose a threat to revenue.

The regulator's market investigation will assess competition concerns relating to mobile browsers and cloud gaming and decide if any action is needed. This could include making legally binding orders requiring changes to be made to Apple's and Google's practices, it 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," CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said.

Apple said it respectfully disagrees with a number of conclusions reached in the report. "We will continue to engage constructively with the Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our approach promotes competition and choice, while ensuring consumers' privacy and security are always protected," it said.

Google noted that it will review the report and continue to engage with the CMA.

The consultation on the proposed market investigation will close on July 22.

 

Write to Kyle Morris at kyle.morris@dowjones.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 10, 2022 06:22 ET (10:22 GMT)

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