Germany’s national competition regulator (Bundeskartellamt) has now also openly initiated proceedings against Apple. The basis is the revision of the law against restraints of competition, which took place in January and was aimed primarily at the digital sector as reported by Business Standard.
As announced by the Federal Cartel Office, Apple is the fourth company against which proceedings have been initiated via the so-called GWB digitization law. Facebook, Amazon, and Google have also already become the subject of the investigation. In all cases, the investigations are still ongoing, so it is not yet possible to estimate the result that the authority will come to here.
The new law enables the Federal Cartel Office to carry out a two-stage procedure to prohibit companies that are of paramount cross-market importance from competition from practices that endanger competition. “We will now examine whether Apple has built a digital ecosystem around the iPhone with the proprietary iOS operating system across several markets,” said Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office.
The Bundeskartellamt sees the problem in the fact that Apple also offers various services in addition to various hardware products and interlinks them with one another. In addition, the Group is able to influence the business activities of third parties via the AppStore as a central access point for third-party providers.
The trigger for the cartel office to take action are various complaints, it said. These have different thrusts. Industry associations from the advertising and media industry complain about the new tracking protection in iOS 14.5, in another case, it is about the in-house apps that Apple delivers on its smartphones, which gives them a competitive advantage over other offers.
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