The CMA is looking into whether the two firms’ control over mobile ecosystems is stifling competition across a range of digital markets. The CMA is concerned this could lead 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.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA said:
“Apple and Google control the major gateways through which people download apps or browse the web on their mobiles – whether they want to shop, play games, stream music or watch TV. We’re looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through 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. 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.”
The CMA has also been investigating Apple's App Store and Google's Privacy Sandbox proposals over competition concerns.
While both examine issues falling within the scope of this study, the CMA’s work into mobile ecosystems is much broader. The CMA will adopt a joined-up approach across all these related cases, to ensure the best outcomes for consumers and other businesses.
Views are welcomed on any of the issues raised in the statement of scope by 26 July and the CMA is also keen to hear from app developers, via its questionnaire, by the same date. The CMA has 12 months to conclude the study.