UK’s CMA to resume cloud gaming and mobile web browser investigation | Pocket

The UK’s competition regulator, the CMA, plans to return to its investigation into mobile browsers and cloud gaming next year from January 24th.

This investigation was temporarily halted after Apple and Google made complaints, with part of the inquiry having been into these two tech giants’ potential market dominance over mobile web browsers.

The deadline for Apple to object has passed and a lower court decision was overturned in November, determining that the CMA’s role is to “promote competition and protect consumers”, and that the investigation will support this. Therefore, it will be able to resume in early 2024.

Dominating on mobile?

The UK’s regulatory body first launched the inquiry into Apple and Google over a year ago on the grounds of their alleged “dominance” over mobile browsers. It was claimed that this influence means competition is being impeded.

And the CMA’s interest in the tech giants dates back even further, with its market report in 2021 suggesting consumers were being directly impacted by Apple and Google’s marketplace dominance and “vice-like grip”.

The regulator will also be resuming its investigation into Apple’s influence over the cloud gaming sector, following the its announcement of a Phase 2 investigation in November 2022.

Concerns around a cloud gaming monopoly were also raised in regards to Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition, cited by the CMA as a reason to block the $69 billion deal.

“Cloud gaming is growing fast with the potential to change gaming by altering the way games are played, freeing people from the need to rely on expensive consoles and gaming PCs and giving them more choice over how and where they play games,” Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel conducting the investigation, said at the time.

“This means that it is vital that we protect competition in this emerging and exciting market.”

Ultimately, the CMA gave Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s deal its approval, but clearly the regulator is still not content with the state of cloud gaming, particularly its distribution through app stores.

“We launched this investigation over a year ago in order to make sure that UK consumers get the best services and apps on their mobile phones, and that UK developers can invest in innovative new apps. We stand ready to reopen it when the legal process is complete,” said CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell.