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Dow Jones Newswires: Apple, Google have ‘vice-like grip’ over mobile devices, U.K. regulator says

The U.K. competition regulator said Tuesday that its interim report has found that a duopoly of Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google limits competition and choice, and that the firms are “exercising a vice-like grip” over mobile devices.

The Competition and Markets Authority said its report into mobile ecosystems suggests users are losing out because of the companies’ control. It had launched a probe in June over concerns that Apple
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and Google
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have too much power over the iOS and Android operating systems, respectively, along with their app stores and web browsers.

The antitrust watchdog said it is concerned that this control is leading to less competition and meaningful choice for customers, as people appear to be missing out on innovative new products and services, along with higher prices.

“Apple and Google have developed a vice-like grip over how we use mobile phones and we’re concerned that it’s causing millions of people across the U.K. to lose out,” CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said.

The CMA said the best way for it to tackle the firms’ substantial market power was through a digital market unit once it receives powers from the government.

The report also set out a range of actions to address the issues, including making it easier for customers to switch ecosystems without losing functionality or data and making it easier to install apps through other methods than default app stores.

The CMA is consulting on its initial findings and said it will welcome responses by Feb. 7.

Representatives from Apple and Google weren’t immediately available for comment.

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

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