The UK Court of Appeal has confirmed the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) authority to investigate Apple's practices regarding mobile browsers and cloud gaming. The decision counteracts a previous ruling by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in March 2023, which sided with Apple and momentarily halted the CMA's pursuits.
Investigation's Background and Implications
Initiated over a year ago, the CMA's investigation examines the stranglehold that Apple and Google maintain over mobile operating systems, app stores, and web browsers. The probe was triggered by a year-long study that red-flagged potential competitive constraints within the mobile software and hardware market.
Apple had argued against the investigation, claiming that permitting alternatives to its WebKit browser engine could detrimentally homogenize iOS with its competitor Android, threatening the uniqueness of its platform. However, the CMA contends that the scrutiny aims to ensure UK consumers and developers enjoy the best possible services and innovative applications on mobile devices.
Legal Developments and Next Steps
The appellate judgment arrived unanimously from high-ranking legal officials including Lord Justice Green, Lord Justice Arnold, and the Chancellor of the High Court. The ruling deems the CAT's prior finding as mistaken, clearing the way for the CMA to potentially resume its investigation, dependent on further appeals.
Sarah Cardell, the CMA's Chief Executive, lauds the judgment, indicating that the watchdog stands prepared to revisit the paused probe as soon as the legal proceedings conclude. The CMA's determination underscores a steadfast commitment to safeguarding a competitive environment for the UK's mobile ecosystem.
Google Pushes for Investigation into Microsoft
In other tech regulatory news in the UK, Google is pushing for the CMA to investigate Microsoft over its cloud practices. Microsoft's current cloud licensing rules put competitors at a significant disadvantage. According to the allegation, these practices force British customers into using Microsoft's Azure cloud services instead of exploring alternatives that might offer better pricing or features. This situation, according to Google, represents the main barrier to competition within the UK's cloud market.