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Apple and Google under investigation for mobile ecosystem dominance

The new market study will assess if the duopoly of the two firms hurts consumers or competition in the market.

(Image for representation: Reuters) (Image for representation: Reuters)
Story highlights
  • CMA has launched a market study into Apple and Google mobile ecosystems.
  • The study will address concerns over the market power of the two firms harming users and other businesses.
  • CMA states that the market domination could lead to reduced innovation across the sector.

UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in charge of regulating the competition in the country's markets, has launched an official investigation into Apple's and Google's mobile ecosystems. The market study will aim to address concerns over the have market power that the two majors enjoy and its potential to harm users and other businesses.

The assessment will look into the duopoly of the two firms over "the supply of operating systems (iOS and Android), app stores (App Store and Play Store), and web browsers (Safari and Chrome)." The CMA believes that the stronghold is making consumers lose out "across a wide range of areas.

In particular, the CMA will assess if the mobile ecosystems of Apple and Google are stifling competition "across a range of digital markets." In a public note, the CMA expresses its concerns that this stronghold could lead to "reduced innovation across the sector and consumers paying higher prices for devices and apps." The loss for consumers might extend to other goods and services due to higher advertising prices on the two mobile ecosystems.

In addition, the study will try to examine any effects of Apple and Google's market power over other businesses. App developers, for instance, rely solely on Apple or Google to market their creations to smartphone users. The CMA will assess how the duopoly affects such equations.

The study comes as a part of a broader programme by CMA that wants to regulate the digital markets to preserve competition. Prior to the new study, the CMA was investigating Apple's App Store and Google's Privacy Sandbox proposals over competition concerns. CMA says that the new work into mobile ecosystems will be much broader than the earlier one.

The CMA says that it will conclude the study in 12 months. It invites views from the public and other stakeholders like app developers on any related issues through a questionnaire on its website, latest by July 26.

In its note, CMA explains that such market studies can help make recommendations to the government or other bodies. This can further help governing bodies to "issue guidance to businesses and consumers as needed."