UK says Apple, Google duopoly limits competition, consumer choice

‘Apple and Google have developed a vice-like grip over how we use mobile phones,’ official says

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Tuesday that Apple’s and Google’s duopoly limits competition and consumer choice.

“When someone buys a mobile device, they essentially enter either Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android ecosystem. As a result, Apple and Google are able to control how online content, such as mobile apps and websites, is provided to users,” it said in a statement.

The CMA said in its interim report about mobile ecosystems that users are “losing out” and the agency is concerned that type of behavior is leading to less competition and meaningful choice for customers.

“Apple and Google have developed a vice-like grip over how we use mobile phones,” CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said in a statement. “Any intervention must tackle the firms’ substantial market power across the key areas of operating systems, app stores and browsers.We think that the best way to do this is through the Digital Markets Unit when it receives powers from government.”

The Digital Markets Unit that was launched in April as a new regulatory body, aims to investigate anticompetitive behavior among the world’s largest tech firms while trying to ensure that big tech companies do not exploit market dominance to crowd out competition.

The CMA said it has “provisionally” found that Apple and Google have been able to leverage their market power to create mostly self-contained ecosystems. “As a result, it is extremely difficult for any other firm to enter and compete meaningfully with a new system.”

The report follows a probe the CMA launched earlier this year about concerns that Apple and Google have too much control on operating systems.


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