Germany opens investigation into Apple App Store

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The country’s federal competition watchdog recently opened several investigations into tech giants, with Apple next in sight.

The German federal competition regulator has opened an investigation into the Apple App Store for alleged anti-competitive behavior.

The Bundeskartellamt, or the Federal Cartel Office (FCO), is investigating whether Apple, via its App Store, is “of paramount importance in all markets” and whether this stifles competitors.

The regulator said it was acting on a number of complaints it had received, including complaints from the advertising industry about restrictions on user tracking in iOS 14.5, which was quite controversial when it was launched. introduction earlier this year.

“We will now examine whether with its proprietary iOS operating system, Apple has created a digital ecosystem around its iPhone that spans several markets. Apple produces tablets, computers and portable devices and provides a host of device-related services, ”said Andreas Mundt, President of FCO.

Mundt didn’t provide many details but did refer to the fact that all of Apple’s business extends to hardware, software, and services beyond the iPhone, including Apple Music, Apple TV + and portable devices.

“In addition to assessing the company’s position in these areas, we will examine, among other aspects, its extensive integration at several market levels, the extent of its technological and financial resources and its access to data”, a- he declared. “One of the main objectives of the surveys will be the functioning of the App Store, as it allows Apple to influence the business activities of third parties in a number of ways.”

Apple acknowledged the investigation in a brief statement: “We look forward to discussing our approach with the FCO and having an open dialogue on one of their concerns.”

The investigation was launched under a new amendment to Germany’s competition law that was passed in January. Under the same amendment, the FCO launched an investigation into Google last month.

This is the next headache for Apple when it comes to the App Store. The European Commission recently opened proceedings against the tech giant and the App Store, alleging abuse of its dominant position.


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