The Strategist

UK watchdog: Apple and Google duopoly restricts ecosystem competition

12/15/2021 - 08:27

Apple and Google's duopoly could limit competition and ecosystem choices for mobile service users, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in an interim report.

Joakim Jardenberg
Joakim Jardenberg
Earlier this year, the CMA began investigating how Apple and Google interact with their operating systems (iOS and Android), app stores (App Store and Play Store) and web browsers (Safari and Chrome), which together form their "ecosystems". When a user buys a mobile device, he or she is essentially entering the iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) ecosystem. As a result, Apple and Google can control the information in mobile apps and websites.

The CMA has provisionally found that Apple and Google have been able to use their market power to create largely autonomous ecosystems. As a result, it is extremely difficult for any other firm to enter and fully compete with the new system.

In the report, the regulator also outlines a number of measures that could be taken to address these problems, such as making it easier for users to switch between iOS and Android when they want to replace their device without losing functionality or data, and making it easier to install apps using methods other than the App Store or Play Store, including web apps.

The regulator is now consulting on the initial findings, which will run until 7 February. It is also indicated that the final report is now scheduled to be published in June.