In a recent development, Apple has won an appeal against the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding an antitrust probe into the company’s mobile browser dominance. This victory handed the CMA a significant setback in its efforts to regulate the tech giant. Last November, the CMA launched an investigation into Apple and Google, citing concerns that many UK businesses felt restricted by the “stranglehold” the two tech giants had on mobile browsing. The probe also aimed to determine if Apple was limiting the cloud gaming market through its App Store rules.
According to Reuters, Apple successfully argued that the regulator had no power to investigate its position in the mobile browser market. The company stated that the CMA should have opened the probe when it first published its report on mobile ecosystems in June. The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) agreed with Apple, ruling that the regulator gave notice of its investigation too late.
Apple expressed its satisfaction with the decision, saying it would continue to work towards delivering support for developers and a safe and secure experience for users. However, the CMA was disappointed with the outcome of the case. In a statement, the regulator said that it had launched the market investigation to ensure that UK consumers get a better choice of mobile internet services and that UK developers can invest in innovative new apps. The regulator added that its concerns and the reasons for launching the market investigation were not challenged by Apple.
Given the importance of the judgment, the CMA stated that it would be considering its options, including seeking permission to appeal. It is crucial to note that this outcome does not mean that the investigation into Apple’s App Store rules and the cloud gaming market has been dismissed entirely. The CAT ruling only quashes the CMA’s investigation into Apple’s dominance in the mobile browser market.
Apple’s win in the appeal against the UK antitrust probe has highlighted the need for clarity around regulatory procedures and timelines. The ruling underlines the importance of regulators having robust investigation plans in place to avoid legal technicalities. The CAT’s decision has set a precedent that regulators need to adhere to timelines while conducting investigations. Additionally, the case highlights the importance of companies having strong legal teams to navigate the complex landscape of antitrust laws and regulations.