Apple loses fight to thwart UK antitrust watchdog’s mobile probe

Apple Inc. faces a revived full-blown probe into its dominance in mobile browsers and cloud gaming after London judges reversed a decision to block the investigation. 

The Competition and Markets Authority acted lawfully when it ordered a market investigation into the iPhone maker, judges at London’s Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday. They said the antitrust tribunal’s decision to overturn it would have had “serious consequences” for the UK agency’s powers.

The regulator was fighting against a Competition Appeal Tribunal decision in March that ordered a halt to its market investigation into the US firm’s market power. Apple had argued that the CMA didn’t follow procedural rules on timings, rendering the probe invalid.

“We launched this investigation over a year ago in order to make sure that UK consumers get the best services and apps on their mobile phones, and that UK developers can invest in innovative new apps,” said Sarah Cardell, the CMA’s chief executive officer.

The agency’s market investigation will remain on hold pending any possible appeal by Apple at the UK’s Supreme Court.  

The CMA had initially opened its investigation into Apple and Google owner Alphabet Inc.’s dominance of the mobile browser market after a separate study concluded they have a “vice-like grip” over operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices. Alphabet wasn’t involved in the lawsuit.

A spokesperson from Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment.



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