German regulator launches antitrust investigation into Apple

A German antitrust watchdog has launched an investigation into whether Apple, through its “digital ecosystem”, has established market dominance, making it the fourth largest US tech giant to be targeted by the agency this year.

Using the new competition rules for digital platforms adopted in January, the German Federal Cartel Office practically attacked Big Tech this year. In the last few months, it has launched investigations into Facebook, Google և Amazon.

The regulator said Monday it would consider whether Apple would take the lead in integrating its hardware products into the marketplace, from iPhones to PCs to tablets to fuels with digital services such as the App Store, iCloud or Apple Music. h:

The first step in the investigation will be to determine whether the company is “paramount in the markets”.

“The ecosystem, which is spreading to different markets, can prove that the company is taking such a position,” the agency said in a statement.

“Apart from assessing the company’s position in these areas, we will discuss, among other aspects, its broad integration at several levels of the market, its technological and financial resources, and the availability of data,” said Andreas Mundt, head of the body. ,

According to him, the main focus of the investigation will be the App Store, “because it allows Apple to influence the business activities of third parties in many ways.”

Based on its findings, the agency said it could then look into complaints from various groups for $ 2.2 billion in lawsuits against Silicon Valley.

One such complaint comes from software developers against Apple’s own pre-installed software, which requires developers to use its own download system, which charges a 30 percent commission.

One comes from the advertising and media industry, which has complained about restrictions on tracking users with the new iOS 14.5 operating system.

The federal office of the cartel has announced that it will coordinate such investigations with the European Commission and other competition regulators. “So far no decision has been made on further proceedings,” it said.

Apple said its “iOS app economy” supported more than 250,000 jobs in Germany, and that its App Store “gave German developers of all sizes the same opportunity to share their passion and creative ideas with users around the world.” It added that Germany is Apple’s largest engineering hub in Europe and expects an “open dialogue” on any concerns of antitrust authorities.

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