Apple and Google’s ‘takeover’ of the UK limits Britons’ mobile phone choices – watchdog
Apple and Google have come under fire from the UK Competition and Markets Authority for offering their own services to users and outpacing the competition in the market.
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Tech giants Apple and Google have too much power in the mobile phone market with measures needed to stop them taking more, according to a UK watchdog.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said the two companies were limiting people’s choices by having “a stranglehold” on the market.
The watchdog claimed that because companies are allowed to offer their own services, it pushes other competitors out of the market.
The report was released after a year of research which found that mobile browsers and cloud gaming services are being used as ways to use their dominance to unfairly exclude other companies.
Apple has its own search engine, Safari, on its iPhones, which makes it harder for other apps to get noticed because the built-in browser is so important. They also block alternatives to their search engines, which excludes other competitors.
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They looked at Google’s Play Store and how they allow customers to make in-app payments and the terms they set, with the watchdog also investigating Apple’s App Store in March 2021.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of CMA, 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 UK tech sector and limiting choice.
“We all rely on browsers to use the internet on our phones, and the engines that run them have a huge impact on what we can see and do.
“Right now, the choice in this space is very limited and this is having real impacts – preventing innovation and reducing competition from web applications. We need to give innovative technology companies, many of which are ambitious start-ups , a fair chance to compete.
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“We have always been clear that we will maximize the use of our current tools pending legislation for the new digital regime.
“Today’s announcements – alongside the 8 cases currently open against major players in the tech industry, ranging from fighting fake reviews to solving online advertising problems – are proof of that in action. .”
Apple disagreed with the report and said in a statement: “”We believe in thriving and competitive markets where innovation can flourish.
“Through the Apple ecosystem, we’ve created a safe and reliable experience that users love and a great business opportunity for developers.
“In the UK alone, the iOS app economy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and enables developers big and small to reach customers around the world,”
“We respectfully disagree with a number of conclusions drawn in the report, which fail to take into account our investments in innovation, privacy and user performance – all of which contribute to why users love the app. ‘iPhone and iPad and create a level playing field for small developers on a trusted platform.
“We will continue to engage constructively with the Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our approach promotes competition and choice, while ensuring that consumer privacy and security are always protected.”