Dow Jones Newswires: U.K. regulator opens probe into Apple and Google mobile browsers

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The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said Tuesday that it has launched an investigation into cloud gaming and mobile browsers after an earlier report showed Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems.

The regulator launched a market investigation alongside its Mobile Ecosystem Market Study report, which found Apple
AAPL,
-2.17%

and Google
GOOGL,
-1.88%

have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exercise a stranglehold on operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices.

The CMA said that 97% of all mobile web browsing in the U.K. in 2021 happened on browsers powered by either Apple or Google. U.K.-based developers say current restrictions stifle innovation, the regulator said. The U.K. has more than 800,000 cloud gaming services users, but restrictions could hamper sector growth, it added.

A consultation found 86% of respondents support taking a closer look at concerns which relate to the way that Apple and Google dominate the market and how Apple restricts cloud gaming through its App Store. Browser vendors, web developers, and cloud gaming service providers say the status quo is harming their businesses, holding back innovation, and adding unnecessary costs.

Web developers have complained that Apple’s restrictions, combined with underinvestment, lead to added costs and technical issues, the CMA said.

“We will continue to engage constructively with the Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our approach promotes competition and choice, while ensuring consumers’ privacy and security are always protected,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Google wasn’t immediately available for comment.

“We plan to investigate whether the concerns we have heard are justified and, if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors,” the CMA’s interim Chief Executive Sarah Cardell said.

Write to Kyle Morris at kyle.morris@dowjones.com