Google and Apple called “effective duopoly” in the mobile technology market; British watchdog starts market research

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You may have heard that tech giants have been critical in recent years. Governments and agencies around the world have turned their microscopes to large and influential technology companies in an effort to determine their competitive position in the technology market.

Another study by Google and Apple is now about to be launched, this time from the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), reports Android Headlines† The two tech giants are (again) under scrutiny, this time specifically in the field of mobile phones.

UK CMA investigates Google and Apple duopoly on mobile technology

It seems that the CMA has come to the conclusion that Apple and Google have what is called a duopoly (yes, of monopoly, but coming from two companies, so a duopoly) when it comes to cell phones. It’s been looking now a year in the two companies and now plans to start a thorough market research on the two. The CMA plans to examine the tech giants’ market power in mobile browsers, as well as Apple’s limitations on cloud gaming. But that’s not all: the watchdog has also launched a separate investigation into Google Play Store rules (we’re talking about Google requiring some developers to use their own payment system for in-app purchases).

A year after the launch of the CMA’s initial investigation efforts into the two companies, it has called the situation of Google and Apple an “effective duopoly” on mobile ecosystems.

In the UK, a total of 97% of mobile web browsing is powered by Apple or Google browsers, the CMA found. That could be due to the fact that iPhones and Androids come with Safari and Chrome browsers pre-installed, respectively.

In addition, Apple requires developers to use Apple’s WebKit engine for their iOS and iPadOS apps to browse the web (basically, to gain more control over it). And the agency also pointed out that Apple has policies that prevent cloud gaming apps from being available for download from the App Store. Yes, that means cloud gaming services must submit each game individually for review and approval in order to be listed.

There is an exception for services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and they are available on iOS through a browser, but this doesn’t fully address the cloud gaming situation.

The CMA believes that if no one intervenes, it would only help these two tech giants tighten their grip on mobile browsers and even mobile operating systems. As you might imagine, such a situation, the agency believes, is detrimental to individuals or other companies seeking to develop tech products, and ultimately leads to less innovation.

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