Google, Apple under SMP probe in the UK


A newly established digital industry regulator in the UK has commenced a study into potential market dominance by Google and Apple across various sectors.

The two tech giants are already under heavy scrutiny in the UK, and this SMP (significant market power) probes comes as an add on.

The Digital Markets Unit (DMU) of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will explore alleged dominance of Google and Apple in sectors including their smartphone operating systems, digital stores and web browsers.

CMA chief executive, Andrea Coscelli said DMU’s study is aimed at finding whether Apple and Google are creating problems by controlling “the major gateways through which people download apps or browse the web on their mobiles, whether they want to shop, play games, stream music or watch TV”.

The CMA said it will also look into the whether competitors are disadvantaged by the “effective duopoly” of the pair, with a specific focus on the effects of the two companies’ market power over other businesses including app developers.

It explained the study would take 12 months and could result in guidelines being issued for businesses and consumers, along with recommendations to the government on potential actions.

The CMA launched a probe into Apple in March following claims of anti-competitive conduct towards app developers.

Apple is also being investigated by European Commission for alleged anti-competitive practices reported by Spotify, while Google’s practices have been in the spotlight in the US since 2019. That probe was launched by 50 attorney-generals from 48 states.


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