Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

U.K. Authority Investigating Anticompetitive Practices in iOS and Android

The BBC:

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed it is investigating Apple and Google over their dominant position in the mobile phone market.

It is “taking a closer look” at the “effective duopoly” the two firms have.

That includes the operating systems Android and iOS, both app stores, and Safari and Chrome web browsers.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority:

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.

The CMA is asking developers to complete a survey for an assessment of their experiences with both platforms and their respective app marketplaces. Its scope does not appear to be limited to British developers; if you offer apps in the U.K., you should complete the survey.

Benedict Evans contrasted the approach taken by the U.K. and the recent bills proposed in the U.S.:

USA: An 11-page law banning Apple and Google from adding features to iOS or Android

UK: A 12 month consultation, producing an expert report, followed by recommendations for legislation

Structure matters as much as intent.

The American bill has not become law yet. Also, it is not as though it was written in a vacuum: a committee investigated the firms for sixteen months and solicited developer commentary before issuing a lengthy report last year.

That is not an argument that the U.S. process is perfect or the proposed legislation makes complete sense. But Evans, in this tweet-length commentary, distills the American position on this to iron-fisted regulators equipped with policies pulled from thin air, and nothing could be further from the truth.