UK Investigates Apple and Google’s Mobile Browser Dominance

BY Dave Johnson

Published 22 Nov 2022

Mobile browser

The United Kingdom has officially launched an investigation into Apple and Google’s dominance over the mobile browser market. The probe will focus specifically on mobile gaming. 

In June, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) consulted on launching a market investigation into Apple and Google’s control over the mobile browser market.

At the time, a Mobile Ecosystem Market study revealed that Apple and Google had an effective duopoly on the mobile ecosystem. As a result, both tech giants exercise firm control over mobile operating systems, including their app stores and web browsers. 

The CMA published responses to the consultation today, revealing substantial support for a detailed probe. 

According to the report, 86 percent of participants support taking a closer look at how Apple and Google’s stranglehold on the mobile browser market. Some respondents include web developers, browser vendors, and cloud gaming service providers. 

For example, some web developers noted that Apple’s restriction and underinvestment in its browser technology increase cost. It means they must create a mobile app to avoid dealing with the bugs and glitches that come with building a webpage for Safari. 

Dealing With Apple and Google’s Mobile Browser Dominance

The UK government is working on a regulation — Digital Markets Competition and Consumers Bill — to prevent anti-competitive abuses. Think of it as the British version of the EU’s Digital Market Act, which came into effect on November 2022. 

“Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google,” says Sarah Cardell, interim Chief Executive of the CMA. “When the new Digital Markets regime is in place, it’s likely to address these sorts of issues.”

Reports suggest that the UK government will present the Digital Markets Competition and Consumers Bill in May 2023. “In the meantime, we are using our existing powers to tackle problems where we can,” says Cardell. 

The CMA intends to investigate whether the consultation respondents’ concerns are justified. If that’s the case, the regulatory body wants to identify ways to improve competition in the browser and market.  

Meanwhile, Apple and Google argue that these restrictions are necessary to protect users.