UK to investigate Apple and Google’s “grip” on web browsing

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation on Tuesday apple And the The Googlein the mobile browser market.

In a statement, the authority said the authority would explore “corporate control” over browsing, as well as Apple’s control over cloud gaming through the App Store. The agency said Google and Apple accounted for 97% of all web browsing that occurred in the UK in 2021.

Web developers, cloud gaming service providers and browser vendors have provided “significant support” for the investigation, according to the findings of the panel’s June consultation. They claim that the status quo limits innovation and adds “unnecessary costs” to their business.

Developers have also complained that Apple’s restrictions make it difficult to create innovative new apps for UK consumers, and that they are forced to struggle with glitches and bugs while creating web pages.

Sarah Cardell, the interim chief executive of the Capital Markets Authority, said in the statement that the authority plans to use its powers to address problems wherever possible.

“Many UK companies and web developers tell us they feel constrained by the restrictions imposed by Apple and Google,” she said. “We plan to investigate whether the concerns we heard are justified, and if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors.”

A Google spokesperson told CNBC that Google is committed to building “thriving, open platforms” that help “empower consumers” and encourage developers to create successful businesses.

“Android gives people more choice of apps and app stores than any other mobile platform. It also enables developers to choose the browser engine they want, and has served as a launch pad for millions of apps,” said the representative.

An Apple spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the company believes in “vibrant, competitive markets where innovation can flourish.”

“Through the App Store, we’ve helped millions of developers turn their great ideas into world-changing apps, spurring an app economy that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK alone,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to engage constructively with the Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our approach enhances competition and choice, while ensuring that consumers’ privacy and security are always protected.”

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