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UK regulator says Google and Apple have 'vice-like' grip on consumers


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Reuters.pngEconomyDec 14, 2021

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LONDON (Reuters) - Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hold a "vice-like" grip over how people use mobile phones, stripping any meaningful choice from the system for customers, Britain's competition regulator said on Tuesday.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it had provisionally found that the two groups were able to leverage their market power to create largely self-contained ecosystems. An ability to determine which apps are available on their systems could also lead to higher prices, the CMA said.

The regulator has set its sights on big tech groups in the last year with the creation of a new Digital Markets Unit, and it most recently said Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) owner Meta would have to sell Giphy, the popular animated images platform it bought in 2020.

It said on Tuesday it would now consult on its initial findings about Apple and Google and would welcome responses by Feb. 7. It expects to issue a final report by June next year.

"Apple and Google have developed a vice-like grip over how we use mobile phones and we're concerned that it's causing millions of people across the UK to lose out," Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said.

 

The CMA's report set out a range of options that could address the issues it has identified, including making it easier for users to switch between Apple's iOS and Google's Android phones without losing functionality or data.

It is also looking at whether users could install apps through methods other than Apple's App Store or Google's Play Store.

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