The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) received clearance to investigate Apple’s mobile browser and cloud gaming services, as the country’s Court of Appeal overturned a tribunal ruling blocking a probe from taking place.

In a statement, the CMA explained the appeals court unanimously voted to reverse a Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) decision in March 2023 agreeing with Apple’s argument the competition regulator had taken too long to launch an investigation.

The CAT ruled the probe should have begun in June 2022 after the conclusion of a year-long CMA Mobile Ecosystem Market Study, which apparently found Apple and Google had an effective duopoly allowing them to exercise a stranglehold over operating systems, app stores and web browsers.

There was a further blow to the proposed probe after the CAT denied permission for the CMA to appeal its decision, stating the law on when the regulator could open a market investigation was clear.

The CMA followed up by taking its appeal directly to the UK Court of Appeal, which has now upheld its decision to launch a market investigation.

Sarah Cardell, CEO of the CMA, said the latest ruling gives it the backing needed to protect consumers and promote competition.

The investigation now remains on hold pending any further appeals by Apple. “We stand ready to reopen it when the legal process is complete,” added Cardell.