Apple has hit back at a report The UK’s Competiton and Markets Authority (CMA) published in December last year claiming the tech giant and Google have a duopoly which limits competition and choice, because of the amount of control they have on mobile operating systems, app stores, and web browsers. In response, Apple fiercely defended its ecosystem.
Apple defends its ecosystem in response to UK report
Companies including Apple, Google, Microsft, and Epic Games have filed responses to the CMA’s interim report. Apple’s 47-page response states that the regulator dismissed the benefits of Apple’s ecosystem “without reasoned basis, either ignoring them entirely or dismissing them on the basis of nothing more than speculation.”
Apple went on to say that it would need to redesign the iPhone so a handful of “powerful developers” could benefit.
Apple is deeply concerned that the IR is proposing solutions to hypothetical problems that will result in real-world market interventions that could force it to redesign the iPhone to benefit a handful of powerful developers. The IR appears to assume that its proposed changes would be relatively simple. Yet many would require a complete re-architecting of a product that has existed for 15 years, has been constantly improved by Apple’s investment in IP, and is valued and trusted by millions of consumers.
The tech giant is referring to the CMA’s suggestion that Apple should allow alternative methods of payment in apps for subscriptions and game credits, instead of offering its own. The company also addressed the regulator’s suggestion that Apple should allow sideloading on its platform. Apple said the CMA was “downplaying the security risks” of sideloading. It also said this could “effectively remove the competitive differentiation between Apple and Android,” since many users choose Apple over Android for security reasons.
Apple also highlighted the benefits of its own ecosystem in the report including security, performance, customer satisfaction, and more.
“As a result, the findings in the IR are, in effect, no more than hypotheses about how Apple’s ecosystem ‘may’ have the ‘potential’ to harm competition,” Apple concluded. “Such hypotheses are insufficient to warrant, never mind support, a discussion of potentially radical remedies at this stage.”
The CMA is still investigating the App Store and Google Play Store over competition concerns. A final report by the authority is expected in June 2022.