Cloud gaming and App Store: Apple accused of anti-competitive practices

The ban on cloud gaming services on the App Store and the requirement to use WebKit have been deemed anti-competitive by the UK competition watchdog.


For several years, Apple has been in the sights of several public authorities ensuring good competition. This week, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) publishes an investigation into complaints antitrust against Apple and Google. She said Apple’s practices for cloud gaming on the App Store and WebKit for web browsers on iOS are anti-competitive.

Several investigations on Apple and Google

A survey of more than 350 pages published by the CMA and taken up by 9to5Macwhich states:

The study found that Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exert a stranglehold on these markets, which include operating systems, app stores and web browsers on devices. mobiles.

Without intervention, both companies are likely to maintain or even strengthen their grip on the sector, further restricting competition and limiting incentives for innovators. »

This investigation not only studied the policy of Apple, but also that of Google, which is not to be outdone on anti-competitive practices. Incidentally, the UK Competition and Markets Authority has launched a study on payment terms in app on the Play Store.

This is not the only investigation conducted by the CMA at the moment. The authority has been working on the terms and conditions imposed by Apple on developers since March 2021.

Cloud gaming banned by the App Store

Currently, cloud gaming apps are not available on the App Store and it’s not the fault of the developers. In fact Apple bans them on its application store to only make available its Arcade subscription service. Enough to take advantage of a few more dollars and avoid being overtaken by the competition.

This is precisely what is pointed out by the British Competition and Markets Authority, arguing that these applications ” could pose a real threat to Apple’s strong position in app distribution “. She adds that Apple risks depriving mobile users of all the advantages of cloud gaming “.

Apple would restrict the experience on iOS browsers

Apple requires web browser vendors to use its browser engine. Any developer can create their browser and publish it, as long as they use WebKit. This means that these browsers cannot differentiate themselves to be faster and/or more efficient than what Apple does in this area. Also, the Apple brand restricts certain features to Safari, such as Apple Pay for example. From there, according to the CMA, Apple has no incentive to invest in WebKit and Safari to make them better. For authority, this restriction also seriously hinders the ability of web applications […] depriving consumers and businesses of all the benefits of this innovative technology “.

Probably knowing that it is behind on the turn that the various legislations could take, Apple is working to resolve some problems of anti-competitive practices. The first beta of iOS 16 allows for example to remove preinstalled applications, such as Locate (Find My), Health or Clock. The European Commission had announced that it wanted to force smartphone manufacturers to facilitate the uninstallation of native applications.

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