Android, Apple Mobile Ecosystems Face UK Antitrust Probe Amid Competition Fears

Google and Apple Inc. face a sweeping probe into the “duopoly” power of their mobile ecosystems, in the U.K. antitrust watchdog’s latest attack on Silicon Valley.

The increasingly tech-focused Competition and Markets Authority opened a 12-month market study into broad aspects of the iOS and Android systems, saying it feared the companies’ dominance is stifling competition. The investigation adds to the regulator’s separate investigations into both tech giants.

“Our ongoing work into big tech has already uncovered some worrying trends and we know consumers and businesses could be harmed if they go unchecked,” CMA Chief Executive Officer Andrea Coscelli said in a statement.

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The CMA said it will consider whether Apple and Google use their position as the owners of the main app stores to exploit consumers and developers as well as their supply of mobile browsers.

Big Tech is the focus of a vast array of European probes looking at how the firms increasingly govern the terms of what people do online, often gaining insights into user behavior that smaller rivals can’t match.

The market study will inform the CMA’s move to boost oversight over the largest tech companies while it develops a new code of conduct for companies that have “strategic market status.” But the regulator also warned that the study could lead to more stringent interventions, noting that even operational splits of company units were a possible outcome.

The CMA is separately scrutinizing Apple’s app payment rules and Google’s planned changes to ad tracking.

Source: Android, Apple Mobile Ecosystems Face UK Antitrust Probe Amid Competition Fears – Bloomberg

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