Aiding the censorious effect of Big Tech
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering an investigation into the effects of Apple and Google’s dominance of the mobile browser market. One deadly side effect is that UK technology companies are stifled and UK mobile operators could be collaborating to stifle competition and invention in the UK technology sector. The dominance of the two Big Tech companies holds back the UK tech sector and restricts consumer choice, according to Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of the CMA.
“When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards,” said Coscelli. “Their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice.” Action is needed before both companies strengthen their grip on the sector and further restrict rivals and dissuade innovators, according to the The Mobile Ecosystems market report. The CMA said it is consulting on the launch of a market investigation into Apple and Google’s market power in mobile browsers after a year-long study of the companies’ mobile ecosystems, published on June 10th.
The study found that Apple and Google have an “effective duopoly” on mobile ecosystems that give them a stranglehold over areas including operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices. Mobile operators and handset makers have colluded in this to the extent that smartphones typically have either Google’s Chrome or Apple’s Safari pre-installed as their default browsers, which gives them a combined market share of about 90% in the UK. “Without interventions, both companies are likely to maintain, and even strengthen, their grip over the sector, further restricting competition and limiting incentives for innovators,” the watchdog said.
The CMA report also accused Apple of blocking the emergence of cloud gaming on its app store and said it would consult on launching an investigation into that as well. In response Apple said it believed in “thriving and competitive markets” and disagreed with a number of conclusions in the report that accompanied the CMA statement. Its statement gave a hint at how it might kick this can down the road. “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.”
Google, which came under scrutiny in an Investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct said it offered “more choice than any other mobile platform” and that it was “helping developers create global businesses.”