UK slams major iPhone feature and Xbox Cloud Gaming policy, investigation looms

Iphone 13 Mini Safari Hero
Iphone 13 Mini Safari Hero (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple faces more competition woes in the UK.
  • It is under investigation over the market power of Safari and WebKit on devices like the iPhone.
  • The CMA also has concerns about Apple's restrictions against streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia.

Apple could be in more hot water with competition authorities in the UK, as the CMA today announced an investigation in Apple's market power with regards to Safari on mobile devices and Cloud Gaming.

The CMA stated:

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is consulting on the launch of a market investigation into Apple and Google's market power in mobile browsers and Apple's restrictions on cloud gaming through its App Store. In parallel, it is also taking enforcement action against Google in relation to its app store payment practices.

The body has done a year-long study, which found "that Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exercise a stranglehold over these markets" including operating systems, app stores, and web browsers on mobile devices.

"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," said CMA chief Andrea Coscelli.

Mobile browsers

The CMA is concerned about Apple's use of both Safari as a default browser and the use of Safari as the default browser engine for all app Store browsers on devices like iPhone 13 and its other best iPhones and iPads:

Apple bans alternatives to its own browser engine on its mobile devices; a restriction that is unique to Apple. The CMA is concerned this severely limits the potential for rival browsers to differentiate themselves from Safari (for example, on features such as speed and functionality) and limits Apple's incentives to invest in its browser engine.

Cloud gaming

The body also noted Apple's treatment of services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia:

Apple has also blocked the emergence of cloud gaming services on its App Store. Like web apps, cloud gaming services are a developing innovation, providing mobile access to high-quality games that can be streamed rather than individually downloaded. Gaming apps are a key source of revenue for Apple and cloud gaming could pose a real threat to Apple's strong position in app distribution. By preventing this sector from growing, Apple risks causing mobile users to miss out on the full benefits of cloud gaming

This measure from Apple has been a big point of contention from gaming giant Xbox and Microsoft, as well as a major talking point during the Apple vs Epic Games trial, the first round of which drew to a close last year.

Apple remains beset on all sides by antitrust concerns both at home and abroad, the UK is also ready conducting a similar investigation in Apple's App Store distribution model and payments for in-app purchases.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9