Bloomberg — Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. hold a “vice-like grip” on the mobile phone market that makes it impossible for new entrants to make an impact.
That’s the main finding from the U.K.’s competition watchdog that’s investigating dominance in mobile systems and consumer choice. The Competition and Markets Authority said it’s concerned the “effective duopoly” could lead to customers missing out on new products and face higher prices than in a competitive market, according to the interim report published Tuesday.
“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 U.K. to lose out,” Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief, said.
The investigation found that such is the dominance of the tech giants that they would meet the criteria for so-called Strategic Market Status. Under new regulatory reforms, the label will be applied to the most powerful tech companies, who will be held accountable under a code of conduct.
“Our rules and guidelines are constantly evolving, and we have made many recent changes that benefit developers and consumers alike,” an Apple spokesperson said in an email. “We will continue to engage constructively with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority as their work on this study progresses.”
The agency opened a 12-month study in June on the wider market in mobile ecosystems, a broad term that takes in mobile devices, operating systems, and apps. A final report is expected in June 2022.
“We regularly review how we can best support these businesses,” a Google spokesperson said. “We’re committed to building thriving, open platforms that empower consumers and help developers succeed.”