UK regulator investigates accusation of collusion between Apple and Google

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Apple Google
Google and Apple are accused of colluding with one another.
Photo: Apple/Google

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is looking into accusations of “collusion at a very senior level” against Apple and Google.

Online campaign group Marketers for an Open Web made the complaint. It says the two tech behemoths are “not competing head to head,” but rather working together when it comes to search.

The group points to documents uncovered in a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit, including a 2018 internal email in which Apple and Google staffers discussed how they “work as if we are one company.”

Marketers for an Open Web takes issue with a deal between Apple and Google to make Google the default search engine on iOS. The New York Times described the deal as a windfall for Cupertino.

“Apple now receives an estimated $8 billion to $12 billion in annual payments — up from $1 billion a year in 2014 — in exchange for building Google’s search engine into its products,” the Times wrote last year. “It is probably the single biggest payment that Google makes to anyone and accounts for 14 to 21 percent of Apple’s annual profits.”

Apple data boosts Google search

Marketers for an Open Web says data from Apple users provides “missing pieces in the jigsaw puzzle about all users, giving Google unique insight into overall markets and their trends and developments.”

It also says the two companies have a “mutually reinforcing interest in stifling innovation and applications developments from being supplied over the Open Web.”

The Competition and Markets Authority said it will examine the claims.

Apple and Google faced various antitrust accusations in recent years, in Europe as well as the United States. On balance, maybe things were simpler for both when they were, at least publicly, sworn enemies. Things have certainly changed since the days Steve Jobs swore to engage in “thermonuclear war” on Google.

Source: Daily Mail