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Apple responded to UK competition regulators, stating that the assessment of the iPhone maker’s market strength was based on “unsubstantiated allegations and hypothetical concerns”.
In late 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released an interim report claiming that Apple and Google had maintained a “deputy-like grip” over the mobile industry, limiting competition. On February 7, 2022, Apple released a long and detailed response that was recently published by the CMA.
The Cupertino tech giant dismissed the CMA’s interim report, noting that the regulator had dumped the benefits of Apple’s ecosystem “without rationale, either by ignoring them entirely or rejecting them on the basis of nothing more than speculation.”
It also said the report was based on “unsubstantiated allegations and hypothetical concerns” raised by “self-serving complaints” from a number of competitors, such as Facebook, Spotify, Match, Epic Games and Microsoft.
Apple goes on to say that these companies are all seeking to “make profound changes to the iPhone for their own business gain.”
In addition, the response claims that Apple is “extremely concerned” about the proposed regulations. It states that real-world inventions may force the company to “redesign the iPhone to benefit a handful of powerful developers”.
“The [report] He seems to assume that the proposed changes will be relatively minor, “Apple Books”. “However, many will require a complete redesign of a product that has been around for 15 years, has been continuously improved through Apple’s investment in IP and is valued and trusted by millions of consumers.”
For example, Apple is again aiming for potential rules that would allow alternative app markets to sideload the iPhone, noting that the changes would destroy the iPhone’s overall approach to security. This will “effectively remove the competitive differentiation between Apple and Android,” since many users prefer Apple over Android for security or privacy reasons.
Apple has highlighted the benefits of its ecosystem, including customer satisfaction, performance, and ease of use. It also promoted its commitment to user privacy and innovation while rejecting the interim report entirely.
Apple concluded that, “As a result, the findings of the International Relations Report are really little more than assumptions about how the ‘potential’ for Apple’s ecosystem is ‘capable’ of harming competition.” “Such hypotheses are insufficient to justify, let alone support, discussion of potential radical treatments at this point.”
So far, the CMA report indicates that Apple and Google are meeting the criteria for assigning a strategic market position (SMS) under proposals to make digital markets more competitive in nature. If the proposals become law, a Digital Markets Unit will be created within the CMA to make such an appointment.
SMS companies will then face legally enforceable codes of conduct surrounding their behaviour, with the goal of preventing future exploitation of dominant positions.
The report makes suggestions for the kind of actions Apple and Google could take to address the situation, such as making it easier for users to switch devices without losing data, to allow alternative ways to install apps and use Web Apps, more options for in-app purchases beyond the App Store mechanism, and to offer more from the default application options.
The CMA continues to investigate the App Store and Google Play regarding competition concerns, and welcomes responses to initial filings through February 7, 2022. A final report is expected by June 2022.