--The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority has launched a market study into Apple and Google's mobile ecosystems

--Watchdog said study is part of broader move to establish new regulatory regime

--Google said it welcomes CMA's efforts to understand platforms before designing rules

 

By Adria Calatayud

 

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said Tuesday that it has launched a market study into Apple Inc. and Google's mobile ecosystems, in the latest instance of tightened European regulatory scrutiny over U.S. tech giants.

The antitrust watchdog said it is looking into whether the companies' control over mobile operating systems, app stores and web browsers could be hurting competition in digital markets.

The CMA said it is concerned that this could lead to reduced innovation and consumers paying higher prices for devices, apps or other goods and services. The study will also examine the effects of Apple and Google's market power over other businesses such as app developers, the regulator said.

The regulator said this study is broader than previous investigations into Apple's App Store and Google's proposals to remove third-party cookies, and is part of a larger program that seeks to establish a new regulatory regime for digital markets.

"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 are looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through their phones," CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said.

The CMA said it is seeking comments or concerns until July 26. The regulator has 12 months to complete the study, it said.

A Google spokesperson said Android provides people with choice in deciding which apps they use and enables developers and manufacturers to build successful businesses.

"We welcome the CMA's efforts to understand the details and differences between platforms before designing new rules," the Google spokesperson said.

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.

The latest move from the CMA comes as European regulators ramp up scrutiny for U.S. tech giants. Last week, Google pledged to collaborate with U.K. regulators on the removal of a user-tracking technology from its Chrome browser as part of commitments from Google parent Alphabet Inc. to settle an antitrust investigation.

Earlier this month, the European Union and the U.K. opened formal antitrust investigations into Facebook Inc.'s classified-ads service, Marketplace. On April 30, the European Commission, the EU's top antitrust enforcer, charged Apple with antitrust violations for allegedly abusing its control over the distribution of music-streaming apps.

 

Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayud@dowjones.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2021 10:16 ET (14:16 GMT)

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