CMA wins Apple’s UK appeal against mobile browser investigation

The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to launch a market investigation into mobile browsers and cloud gaming.

The judgement overturns a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in March 2023 which upheld an appeal by Apple and suspended the CMA’s investigation.

The Court of Appeal found that the CAT had erred in its interpretation of the Enterprise Act 2002 and that such an interpretation, if uncorrected, would have “serious consequences” on the CMA’s ability to promote competition and protect consumers.

It added that the CMA’s standalone power carries with it sufficient and important public law safeguards and that “there is no overarching principle that an undertaking is entitled to be investigated once and only once”.

The CMA said its market investigation remains on hold pending the determination of any application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“This ruling gives the CMA the backing it needs to protect consumers and promote competition in UK, said Sarah Cardel, chief executive of the CMA. “As this judgment clearly states, the previous ruling by the CAT would have had ‘serious consequences’ for the CMA’s ability to investigate potential breaches of the law.

“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. We stand ready to reopen it when the legal process is complete.”

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