(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. won its legal challenge against the UK antitrust watchdog’s investigation into its dominance of the mobile phone market, over a procedural technicality.
The Big Tech firm appealed the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to refer the firm to a full-blown market investigation following its findings in its mobile browser market study. It successfully argued that the CMA didn’t follow the rules on timings and that the probe was invalid.
The CMA opened its investigation into both Apple and Google owner Alphabet Inc.’s dominance of the mobile browser market after a separate study concluded they have the power to “exercise a stranglehold” over operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices. Alphabet wasn’t involved in the lawsuit.
Judges at the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled Friday that both the CMA’s notice and start of the consultation process happened too late. Its decision “lacks the statutory prerequisites — publication of a timely notice and commencement of a timely consultation — for a valid decision in this regard.”
“This risks substantially undermining the CMA’s ability to efficiently and effectively investigate and intervene in markets where competition is not working well,” said a CMA spokesperson. The agency is considering an appeal.
An Apple spokesperson welcomed the CAT’s decision.
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