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The UK Government Takes Issue Against Bad Anti-Competitive Practices From Apple And Google

The UK government feels that Apple and Google have far too firm a grasp over the mobile industry, exhibiting concerns over potential monopolization and the limitation of competitive growth in the field.

Monopolization is a concern that the UK government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) takes to heart. It launched investigations into Meta, and more specifically Facebook, rather recently, and is apparently now gearing up to address Apple and Google. While Meta’s grasp over social media prospects is rather obviously apparent, with the company trying to emulate or buy out virtually every new trend or well performing platform in the marketplace, one may consider why Apple and Google are a part of this conversation? Sure, Apple’s a very successful tech company, but it seems to have more than enough competition in the marketplace, and Google’s own line of phones isn’t exactly a trailblazer in comparison to the likes of Samsung or Huawei. However, concerns over monopolization run much deeper than simply stacking up the amount of smartphone purchases for each company, and then sizing those up against each other.

The CMA’s major complaint against Apple comes in the form of it owning 50% of the mobile browser marketplace in the UK. While that is already very concerning, this is only compounded upon by the fact that Google owns a 40% stake, leading all other browsers to co-exist within the very tiny 10% margin. Of course, one could argue that this is only due to both browsers having been built better, and therefore earning their keep, but even that logic’s a bit faulty. Specifically, much criticism has been thrown against Apple for creating a rather shoddy browser system, with all such apps running on WebKit. WebKit is a uniquely underpowered piece of technology in 2021, and an ex-Google employee has even suggested that this is so that users are discouraged from downloading APK files or using other online services, instead relying on the App Store and generating more revenue for the company.

Where Google is concerned, apart from its stranglehold over mobile browsers, the CMA takes issue against the company signing a certain slew of contracts against Android smartphone manufacturers. Specifically, one such contract enabled Google to force all such smartphone users to exclusively use Play Billing when purchasing applications from the Play Store, forcibly taking out any revenue stream competition. This is a practice that the USA took offense to, with a lawsuit hanging over the company’s head in the contracts’ wake. It now seems like the UK is boarding such a train too.

The CMA hasn’t pledged to take any official action just yet, but its reporting on such matters means that some form of pushback against Google and Apple in the foreseeable future is expected.


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