Apple Overturns U.K. Decision to Investigate Safari and App Store

Apple on Friday won an appeal it filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) against the U.K. Competition and Market Authority (CMA)’s investigation into Safari and the App Store — reports Reuters.

Back in November, the British antitrust regulator launched a full investigation into Apple and Google’s dominance in mobile browsers, as well as the possibility of Apple restricting the cloud gaming market through its control over the App Store.

According to the CMA, 97% of all mobile web browsing in the U.K. during 2021 was done on either Apple’s or Google’s mobile browser.

However, Apple argued before the Tribunal that the CMA had “no power” to open such an investigation because it did so too late. The company said that the regulator should have launched the investigation in June 2022, when it published a report on mobile ecosystems that concluded that Apple and Google had an “effective duopoly.”

In its ruling, the Tribunal found that the CMA “erred in law” by delaying the probe. Apple welcomed the Tribunal’s decision, saying in a statement that it believes in “vibrant and competitive markets where innovation can flourish.”

“We are pleased with the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s decision and will continue working to deliver support for developers and a safe and secure experience for users,” the company said.

The CMA, meanwhile, said it was disappointed with the ruling.

“Today’s judgment has found there are material constraints on the CMA’s general ability to refer markets for in-depth investigations,” the antitrust watchdog said in a statement. “This risks substantially undermining the CMA’s ability to efficiently and effectively investigate and intervene in markets where competition is not working well.”

The CMA went on to note that it will be seeking permission to appeal the Tribunal ruling.