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Apple has won an appeal that will force the UK regulators to drop their investigation into the company’s policies on mobile browsers and cloud gaming services, according to a report by Reuters.
The UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) had launched an investigation into Apple and Google’s cloud gaming and mobile browser restrictions, suggesting that these policies were hindering innovation and increasing costs for web developers, cloud gaming service providers, and browser vendors.
The investigation was part of a larger examination of the “duopoly” of Apple and Google on mobile ecosystems that began in 2021. Sarah Cardell, interim chief executive of the CMA, said at the time, “Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google”.
However, Apple filed an appeal with the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in January, arguing that the CMA had missed key timing requirements and therefore should not be able to continue the investigation. The CAT agreed with Apple, stating that the CMA should have launched the market investigation at the same time that it published the duopoly report in June 2021, and that by not doing so, it “erred in law”.
If the CMA had continued with its investigation, it would have been able to ask Apple for in-depth information on its browser and cloud gaming practices and could have ultimately forced Apple to change the way that it operates. The CMA has said that it is disappointed with the ruling and is considering an appeal.
This decision is likely to be controversial, as many have raised concerns about the power that companies like Apple and Google have over the mobile ecosystem. The investigation by the CMA was an attempt to address these concerns and ensure that these companies are not stifling innovation and competition.
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Apple has argued that its policies are necessary for security reasons and to ensure a consistent user experience. However, critics argue that these policies are anti-competitive and restrict consumer choice.
The outcome of this case is significant for both Apple and Google, as it sets a precedent for future investigations into their practices. It remains to be seen whether the CMA will continue to pursue the matter or whether it will drop the investigation altogether.