UK Probe Into Apple's Mobile Browser Restrictions Shut Down After Apple Argues Regulators Waited Too Long to Open Investigation

The UK's Competition and Market Authority (CMA) will not be looking into Apple's policies on mobile browsers and cloud gaming services after Apple won an appeal that will force the UK regulators to drop the investigation, reports Reuters.

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The CMA in November launched an investigation into the cloud gaming and mobile browser restrictions put in place by both Apple and Google, suggesting that the two companies were holding back innovation and increasing costs for web developers, cloud gaming service providers, and browser vendors.

"Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google," said Sarah Cardell, interim chief executive of the CMA, at the time. The investigation was part of a larger examination of the "duopoly" of Apple and Google on mobile ecosystems that launched in 2021.

Apple in January filed an appeal with the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) pointing out the CMA had missed key timing requirements, and thus should not be able to continue the investigation. The CMA was supposed to end its inquiry within 18 months, and there were deadlines that needed to be adhered to, but Apple said that the proper timeline wasn't followed.

The Appeal Tribunal agreed with Apple, and said that the CMA should have launched the market investigation at the same time that it published the duopoly report in June 2021. By not doing so, it "erred in law."

If the CMA had continued with its investigation, it would have been be able to ask Apple for in-depth information on its browser and cloud gaming practices, and ultimately could have forced Apple to change the way that it operates.

The CMA says that it is disappointed in the ruling and is considering an appeal.

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Top Rated Comments

Krizoitz Avatar
16 months ago

One browser to rule them all...

And this is what Microsoft was sued for in the 90's...

The crap big tech gets away with these days is beyond laughable.
That’s not why Microsoft was sued in the 90’s. What’s laughable is people confidently asserting things that aren’t true as if they were experts.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FaustsHausUK Avatar
16 months ago

One browser to rule them all...

And this is what Microsoft was sued for in the 90's...

The crap big tech gets away with these days is beyond laughable.
You are forced to use the WebKit _engine_ on iOS and iPad OS, but anyone can build a browser on top of it and innovate as they so choose. It hasn't stopped Firefox, Google's Chrome team and others creating great browser experiences.

Outside of iOS and iPad OS, besides the ridiculous dominance of Chrome itself, Chromium is also under the hood in Microsoft Edge, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera, Amazon Silk and Samsung Internet among many others. Not to mention it's the basis of Electron, which numerous desktop apps are built on - just on my personal Mac, I can name Slack, Discord, TIDAL, VSCode, Dropbox and Github for Desktop. I'm sure I have more. If anyone's the new antitrust-era Microsoft, it's Google.

Given that, if iOS and iPad OS were opened up to other browser engines, do you think you're going to have much more choice? We'll get native Firefox (which I personally haven't had any interest in for a decade) and... Chromium dominating yet another platform. It's the illusion of choice.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
antiprotest Avatar
16 months ago
Apple is the authority in waiting too long. They must be happy to finally weaponize their expertise.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Porco Avatar
16 months ago
So if I understand the development in this Safari investigation correctly, Apple’s successful argument against the regulators is that they weren’t snappy enough? ?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiVolt Avatar
16 months ago
One browser to rule them all...

And this is what Microsoft was sued for in the 90's...

The crap big tech gets away with these days is beyond laughable.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
From Win to Mac Avatar
16 months ago
Whichever side of the law you're on, it's when you're in trouble that you realize how good lawyers are worth their weight in gold.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)