UK regulator: users are losing out because of Apple and Google's duopoly

Apple and Google have developed a 'vice-like' grip over how we use mobile phones, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Tuesday.

Britain's competition regulator is concerned that Apple and Google's duopoly is causing millions of people across the UK to lose out.

Google and Apple dominate the market when it comes to choosing a phone. By controlling iOS and Android, companies also exercise controls over online content, which, according to the CMA, can limit innovation and choice and lead to higher prices.

"Apple and Google have developed a vice-like grip over how we use mobile phones, and we're concerned that it's causing millions of people across the UK to lose out," Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, is quoted in a press release.

Earlier this year, CMA launched a probe over concerns that Apple and Google have too much control over operating systems (iOS and Android), app stores (App Store and Play Store), and web browsers (Safari and Chrome) that together form their 'ecosystems.'

Apple and Google can control how online content, such as mobile apps and websites, is provided to users because when someone buys a mobile device, they end up with either iOS or Android ecosystem.

"They can also tilt the playing field towards their services – for example, Apple does not allow any other app store than its own on iPhones and iPads, and its browser Safari comes pre-installed on those. Google's browser, Chrome, and app store also come pre-installed on most Android devices," CMA said in a press release.

Users appear to be missing out on the full benefit of innovative new products and services – such as so-called 'web apps' and new ways to play games through cloud services on iOS devices. The CMA is also concerned that people could be facing higher prices than they would in a more competitive market.

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