Apple is the subject of an antitrust investigation launched by a German agency. Germany’s competition authority launched an investigation into Apple’s suspected anti-competitive behavior, most notably via its App Store rules, on Monday.
Apple has become the fourth US technology behemoth to face such investigations. On behalf of the German Federal Cartel Office, after Amazon, Facebook, and Google (FCO).
The case will decide whether or not the iPhone manufacturer satisfies the new competition legislation in Germany.
“We will now investigate whether Apple, via its proprietary operating system iOS, has built a digital ecosystem around its iPhone. That spans several countries,” FCO President Andreas Mundt said in a statement.
Apple manufactures tablets, laptops, and wearable devices, as well as a variety of device-related services.
Along with numerous hardware items, the tech company’s services division includes the App Store, iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+.
“Along with assessing the company’s success in these areas, we will examine its complete integration across several market levels. So, that the scale of its technological and financial resources, and data access,” he said.
The investigations will concentrate heavily on the App Store’s functioning. Since it allows Apple to exert influence over the commercial operations of third parties in a variety of ways.
The watchdog said that it has received many complaints alleging anti-competitive behavior.
Among them is an industry group lawsuit against Apple for limiting user monitoring with the release of its iOS 14.5 operating system.
Additionally, the FCO has received concerns about the “exclusive pre-installation of the company’s own apps as a kind of self-preferencing.”
Additionally, app developers criticize Apple’s mandated usage of its own in-app purchase mechanism (IAP) and the 30% commission fee connected with it.
Apple stated in a statement that the App Store’s economic growth and activity have enabled German developers of all sizes to share their passion and creativity with users worldwide, “while also providing a secure and trusted environment for customers to download the apps they love with the privacy protections they expect.”
“We look forward to discussing our approach with the FCO and engaging in an open conversation about any of their concerns,” Apple told TechCrunch.
In March, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority launched its own investigation into Apple’s App Store.