The United Kingdom’s Court of Appeal has reignited a comprehensive antitrust investigation into Apple’s dominant role in mobile browsers and cloud gaming services (Bloomberg). This move comes after overturning a prior decision that had suspended the probe, reinforcing the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s jurisdiction in this matter.
Initially, in November 2022, the CMA targeted both Apple and Google with an inquiry into their cloud gaming and mobile browser restrictions. These measures, as alleged by the CMA, were stifling innovation and increasing expenses for web developers, cloud gaming service providers, and browser vendors.
The investigation’s momentum was briefly halted when the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) sided with Apple. CAT concurred with the tech giant’s argument that the CMA had delayed excessively in initiating its investigation. However, this stance was recently challenged by the Court of Appeal.
The court clarified that the CMA’s actions were within legal parameters, dismissing Apple’s claims about time restrictions. It was pointed out that such time constraints only apply to consultation processes in market studies and do not curb the CMA’s wider investigatory authority.
Underlining the CMA’s critical role in fostering competition and protecting consumer interests, the court underscored the significant adverse impact of curbing such regulatory powers. With Apple still having the option to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court, the CMA’s investigation remains on hold.
However, once resumed, it will intensively examine Apple’s influence in the mobile browser sector and its policies regarding cloud gaming on the App Store.