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    Published on April 7, 2023 last updated on April 7, 2023

    Apple succeeds in overturning antitrust investigation

    This is a major setback for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has been very active in recent months against the American digital giants.

    Last week, the British competition authority was disavowed by the courts, which had been seized by Apple. 

    The Apple group challenged the in-depth investigation, opened in November, on a potential abuse of dominant position benefiting its Safari browser. It considered that it was launched too late compared to the conclusions of the preliminary investigation, published a year earlier. The delay - which was explained by the CMA's desire to wait for the entry into force of a new law that would have given it more power - was deemed too long by the Court of Appeal.

    The regulator says it is ready to challenge the decision. According to the CMA, Safari has a "decisive advantage" by being pre-installed and set as the default application on every iPhone and iPad.

    It also highlighted the technical limitations imposed by Apple, which force rival browsers to use the same technology as Safari, without having access to all the features. In addition to reducing competition, this restriction also encourages the group to not invest enough to develop its browser, the CMA assured. 

    "Developers have no choice but to create a mobile application when a website is no longer enough," it explained. This gives Apple, which controls the distribution of applications, a further advantage. And which takes commissions on each purchase.

    At the same time, a second part was to focus on the implicit ban on cloud gaming platforms on the App Store. These services, which allow you to play video games without having to install them or buy a powerful computer or console, are still underdeveloped - Google has just put an end to its Stadia offer. But Microsoft is betting heavily on this new technology to expand its audience. 

    For the moment, its Game Pass service is not available on the App Store, because of rules that are deliberately too restrictive. To access it, you have to go through the browser. "The cloud gaming represents a threat to Apple", which seeks to limit its growth, said the competition authority.

    This investigation completed another one launched against the practices of the App Store, which remains open. These two procedures were part of a large study conducted in 2021 by the CMA. In its report, the British authority estimated that Apple and Google, with its Android system, had developed a "very strong hold" on the mobile ecosystem. 

    It recommended several solutions. It wanted to put an end to the exclusivity of the App Store and Play Store to install applications, to allow developers to offer alternative payment methods or to let users choose their applications by default.

    These measures are similar to those that will come into force in Europe under the Digital Markets Act.

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    avatar Melissa Walehiane

    Melissa Walehiane

    Content writer at Didomi