Google, Apple under scrutiny by UK watchdog over digital markets ‘duopoly’

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) are under scrutiny by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over their ‘duopoly’ on digital markets.

The study will take a look at the supply of operating systems (iOS and Android), app stores (App Store and Play Store), and web browsers (Safari and Chrome), which the authorities say could be resulting in consumers losing out.

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‘Mobile ecosystems’ refers to this collection of gateways through which consumers can access a variety of products, content and services, such as music, TV and video streaming, as well as fitness tracking, shopping and banking.

These products also include other technology and devices such as smart speakers, smart watches, home security and lighting (which mobiles can connect to and control).

The two tech giants may be stifling competition, according to the CMA, leading to reduced innovation across the sector and consumers paying higher prices for devices and apps, or for other goods and services due to higher advertising prices.

The study will also examine any effects of the firms’ market power over other businesses – such as app developers – which rely on Apple or Google to market their products to customers via their phones.

“Our ongoing work into big tech has already uncovered some worrying trends and we know consumers and businesses could be harmed if they go unchecked,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

“That’s why we’re pressing on with launching this study now, while we are setting up the new Digital Markets Unit, so we can hit the ground running by using the results of this work to shape future plans.”

Apple shed 1% to US$129.80 while Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent, was flat at US$2,516.94 at open.

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