The United Kingdom’s antitrust regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has successfully overturned a previous decision, allowing it to proceed with a full investigation into Apple’s mobile browser and cloud gaming services.
The ruling was delivered by the London Court of Appeal on Thursday, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing scrutiny of tech giants.
Last year, the CMA initiated a comprehensive investigation into the market dominance of both Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google within mobile browsers.
According to Reuters, Apple contested the authority of the CMA, arguing that it lacked the power to launch such an inquiry, claiming that it was initiated too late. Apple further contended that the investigation should have commenced simultaneously with the CMA’s report on mobile ecosystems in June of the same year, which highlighted the existence of an “effective duopoly” held by Apple and Google.
The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) had initially ruled in favor of Apple in March, casting doubt on the CMA’s jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal, in a landmark decision, upheld the CMA’s appeal on Thursday, signaling a resounding endorsement of the regulator’s authority.
Judge Nicholas Green, delivering the written ruling, criticized the CAT for having “lost sight” of the CMA’s fundamental role in promoting competition and safeguarding consumer interests. He expressed concerns about the potential repercussions if the CAT’s interpretation of the regulator’s powers were accepted.
“It would mean that the CMA had no jurisdiction, even some years later, to investigate concerns into the behavior of an undertaking such as Apple or Google, even if such concerns were objectively justified,” Judge Green stated. He emphasized the “serious consequences” that would arise if the CAT’s position were deemed correct.