Several Internet, media, and advertising companies in Germany have filed an antitrust complaint against Apple alleging that the new App Tracking Transparency feature represents a violation of competition law and market abuse.
The complaint was filed with a German competition regulator Bundeskartellamt, by ZAW the advertising federation, arguing that Apple is abusing market power and the update will give the tech giant a “one-sided advantage”.
Apple slapped with an antitrust complaint from Internet and advertising companies in Germany
App Tracking Transparency is a new feature in iOS 14.5 aimed at protecting user data and preventing unwanted apps from tracking you across the Internet. Whenever an app requires your data, it will have to first seek permission from the user.
ZAW said in a press release:
With these unilaterally imposed measure, Apple effectively exludes all competitiors from processing commercially relevant data in the Apple ecosystem. At the same time, however, the group excludes its own (advertising) services from the planned changes and collects significant amounts of user data itself.
As reported by the Financial Times, Apple’s spokesperson did not respond right away to a request for comment, but the tech giant has previously defended the antitracking feature against accusations of anticompetitive behavior. According to Apple, the company is giving users a choice of whether or not they want to allow apps to track them, by linking their information with data from third parties for the purpose of advertising or sharing their information with data brokers.
The Federal Carter Office in Germany confirmed the receipt of the complaint and says that it will examine the matter closely. A similar complaint was rejected last month by the French competition regulator.