Apple
(Photo : GettlyImages/ Kevin Frayer) Apple antitrust

Apple is under scrutiny as Germany's Federal Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, started the proceedings against the tech giant.

The Federal Cartel Office pointed out Apple's anti-competitive behavior related to the App Store, its products, and Apple's other services.

Apple's Antitrust Probe Proceedings

The proceeding against Apple was announced on June 21. It will determine whether the tech giant holds a massive advantage across all markets and whether Apple holds enough power to make it difficult for smaller companies to operate in the industry.

The president of Bundeskartellamt, Andreas Mundt, issued a statement on the initial Apple antitrust probe proceedings.

Also Read: iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency Guide: Here's How to Use it on New and Already-Installed Applications

Mundt said that they will now examine whether Apple has created a digital ecosystem around its iPhone products using its operating system iOS that extends across the markets, according to MacRumors.

Apple is known to produce computers, tablets, and wearables and provides a host of device-related services. Aside from manufacturing numerous hardware products, Apple also offers iCloud, App Store, Apple Music, AppleCare, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade.

Besides assessing Apple's position in these areas, the Bundeskartellamt will also examine its extensive integration across several market levels, the magnitude of its technological and financial resources, and its access to data.

The main focus of the antitrust investigation will be on the operation of the App Store as it enables Apple in numerous ways to influence the business activities of third parties, according to Reuters.

Apple's Ecosystem

The Bundeskartellamt did not release the specifics on what the outcome of the investigation may lead to. But the office stated that if it determines a company to be of importance across markets, it may prevent that company from engaging in anti-competitive practices.

The office stated that it had received numerous complaints relating to the anti-competitive practices of Apple, mainly related to the recent rollout of the App Tracking Transparency or ATT framework.

In April, nine industry associations representing companies like Facebook and Axel Springer filed an antitrust complaint to the federal office, claiming the Apple's ATT framework will hurt the publishers and their bottom lines, making it a threat to their business.

According to the press release, another complaint that the office received related to the pre-installation of Apple's own apps on its devices.

The office directly references section 19a of the German Competition Act, which states the abuse of a dominant position by one or several undertakings is prohibited, as a potential clause that Apple may be violating, according to Truth Daily.

Russia took the first step against Apple for the pre-installation of its own apps, requiring the tech giant to show its users a screen to download all government-approved apps during the device's initial setup.

Similar legislation proposed in the United States Congress would require Apple to give its users the chance to delete all pre-installed Apple apps instead of a select handful that users may currently delete.

The Bundeskartellamt also lists ongoing disputes regarding Apple's in-app purchasing system, which gives Apple a 30% commission of all purchases made and the restriction that apps may only be distributed on Apple devices through the App Store and not other third-party app marketplaces.

Related Article: Apple and Google Hit With Another Antitrust Case and this Time in Japan

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Written by Sophie Webster

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