The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is planning to launch an investigation into Apple’s and Google’s mobile browser practices on their respective platform. As a result, Apple could be forced to allow fully-fledged alternatives to Safari. Currently, Apple allows other browsers on iOS and iPadOS but they have to use Apple’s browser engine.
The decision to consult on an investigation comes after a year-long study found that Apple and Google have an “effective duopoly” on mobile ecosystems. With this power, the CMA said they have total control over operating systems, app stores, and web browsers on devices.
While forcing Apple and Google to be more liberal on their platforms will certainly be appealing to some, it’s important to remember why so many people like iPhones; they just work. By loosening Apple’s grip on its ecosystem, it potentially opens users up to less pleasant experiences such as browsers crashing or running more slowly. There’s also a chance that some websites won’t work properly with third-party browsers.
Commenting on its plans, Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said:
“When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards. As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice.”
In addition to the browser situation, the CMA is not happy that Apple has been blocking cloud gaming services from the App Store. The CMA acknowledged that gaming apps are a big part of Apple’s revenue and that cloud gaming poses a threat. Nevertheless, the regulator seems keen that the firm allows cloud gaming services into the App Store so that mobile users don’t miss out on the benefits of cloud gaming.