A German antitrust watchdog has launched an investigation into Apple’s business practices in the country, including whether the Cupertino giant has exploited its market dominance.
- Apple’s vast ecosystem and integration are under investigation.
- App Store, iCloud and other services are being scrutinized.
- Apple’s new app tracking prompt is among the complaints.
Germany’s antitrsut watchodg probing App Store and more
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) said in a press release that it was going to first determine whether Apple has a “paramount significance across markets” before approving a possible further proceeding.
At issue is Apple’s ecosystem built around its hardware and device-related services, including the App Store, iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Music, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.
Besides assessing Applećs position in these areas, we will examine its extensive integration across several market levels, the magnitude of its technological and financial resources and its access to data. A main focus of the investigations will be on the operation of the App Store as it enables Apple in many ways to influence the business activities of third parties.
—Andreas Mundt, the FCO’s head.
An Apple spokesperson said that the company is looking forward to “discussing our approach with the FCO and having an open dialogue about any of their concerns.” The FCO is taking action based on “various complaints relating to potentially anti-competitive practices.”
One of the complaints, predictably, came from an association in the advertising and media industry regarding Apple’s App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5 that requires permission before tracking the user across apps and websites. The office may launch additional proceedings based on those complaints.
The FCO is also probing Facebook, Google and Amazon over similar complaints. These tech giants are already facing similar lawsuits in the US.