German Cartel Office opens investigation into Apple

  •   02/07/2021 - 12h27
  •   DEHOUI Lionel

The German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) has launched an investigation against the Apple brand. The aim of the investigation is to analyse the influence and weight of the company on the various markets it occupies. The aim is to verify whether the company uses anti-competitive practices in its methods. Thus, the regulatory body will check whether Apple pre-installs its own applications on its devices.

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German Cartel Office opens investigation into Apple

The Cartel Office will be combing through Apple devices

After Facebook, Amazon and Google, it is Apple's turn to be censured in the context of the latest developments in German competition law and large digital companies. The Bundeskartellamt will examine Apple's position inthe markets occupied by its products: computer, phone, tablet and watch.

These are the entry points for its many services, such as the App Store, iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Music, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. Their integration, financial and technical resources, as well as data access, are also on the menu. The functioning of the AppStore and its impact on the publishers that appear in it are also targeted.

This preliminary step does not automatically mean that more extensive procedures will be carried out later. However, the office said that complaints have been received from the media andadvertising industry. The latter deplores the obstacles posed by iOS 14.5 to track users.


The new German law on anti-competitive practices

Among the criticisms made to the firm, is the exclusive pre-installation of Apple's own applications on its own devices. A strategy that can give it an advantage in promoting its services. Similarly, the 30% commission and the ban on publishers using payment systems other than Apple in the App Store remain points to be raised.

Since January, Germany has adopted new procedures to speed up investigations into anti-competitive practices by amending its competition law. The country has found that large digital companies are growing in a fast-paced industry. As a result, regulation often comes too late to have a real impact on established positions.

A bill currently being debated in the United States includes the possibility of preventing Apple from pre-installing applications with the advantage of access to its paid services. The European Commission announced new rules for the regulation of large technology companies in December last year.


Apple responds to anti-trust allegations by making overtures to its competitors

Under its proposal, the EU can impose huge fines on any tech companies that fail to remove illegal content or treat their competitors unfairly. The European Commission has received complaints from numerous companies against Apple. This is the case with Epic Games, Telegram, ZAW, Spotify and Match Group.

Apple has responded to some of the anti-trust accusations raised by Spotify by opening up its ecosystem. So once you update to iOS 14.5 , you can now use Siri, to listen to music from Spotify.

Among other changes, Apple users can set a new default email client or browser in the settings. Nevertheless, it is still not possible to set the default music app from the settings.