In this day and age most people own some kind of smartphone they carry on their person at nearly all times. These devices are woven so deeply into our daily lives that it’s almost easy not to really think about them beyond our personal experience. Our phones simply are, like a constant in these doom scrolling times.
But the smartphone industry is a bit of an odd one when it comes to market share, and thus control. When you consider that most people own a smartphone that is likely running one of two software options, there’s really not a huge amount of competition given the incredible size of the market.
Due to this stranglehold, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK is planning to launch an investigation into Apple and Google’s power over the mobile market. Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, explained the current concerns around this market domination.
“When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards. As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice.”
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She also talked about these company’s controls over people’s browsing habits, as well as cloud gaming. There have been plenty of concerns raised around Google and Apple’s ability to deny access to start-ups making apps and programmes that run on smartphones. Especially in the realm of cloud gaming where many are starting to get their foot into the emerging market.
All this creates an increasingly uneven foothold on the market places that these big companies have full control over. Even if Apple isn’t quite the world’s most valuable company anymore, you can’t deny those exclusive profits.
The investigation performed by the CMA has strict rules it needs to follow to comply. It will be an in depth investigation completed by members of the CMA and must be completed within a set amount of time. Its goal is to assess whether a market has features that may have an adverse effect on competition, and it seems like they may have a fair case when it comes to smartphone supremacy.
Once an assessment is made, the CMA can then impose changes on business, propose legislation, and even put in place large structural remedies for these problems when needed. These can include having companies sell off parts of their business. So, depending on the CMA’s findings we could be seeing big changes for smartphones in the future.
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