Bundeskartellamt, the German Federal Cartel Office, has announced a formal antitrust investigation against Apple. Under the new rules for large digital companies in the country, Bundeskartellamt will determine Apple’s significance for competition across markets.
Apple has been under pressure by regulators around the globe because of its control of the App Store, and most recently for introducing a new App Tracking Transparency feature on iOS which restricts invasive tracking across third-party apps and websites. Digital advertisers and data brokers strongly oppose the new privacy feature and one of the reasons for Bundeskartellamt to launch an inquiry into Apple’s market dominance.
German Bundeskartellamt has launched an investigation in Apple’s App Store practices to maintain market dominance
As per the press release, the regulatory authority will analyze the iPhone maker’s impact on the market and competition. It is argued that since Apple not only owns hardware but also the software and offers competing services like Music, Podcasts, Tv+, and other subscriptions, therefore, it has “an ecosystem which extends across various markets may be an indication that a company holds such a position. It is often very difficult for other companies to challenge such a position of power.”
President of Bundeskartellamt, Andreas Mundt summarised that the investigation is initiated on the complaints of digital advertisers against the ATT privacy update in iOS 14.5, and the company’s control over App Store’s distribution and in-app purchases system.
The Cupertino tech giant has released a statement addressing the situation which highlights the benefits App Store reaps for the German economy.
Apple is proud to be an engine for innovation and job creation, with more than 250,000 jobs supported by the iOS app economy in Germany. The App Store’s economic growth and activity have given German developers of all sizes the same opportunity to share their passion and creativity with users around the world while creating a secure and trusted place for customers to download the apps they love with the privacy protections they expect.
Germany is also home to Apple’s largest engineering hub in Europe, and a new €1bn investment in our European Silicon Design Center in Munich. We look forward to discussing our approach with the FCO and having an open dialogue about any of their concerns.