Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) or Bundeskartellamt became the latest government entity to investigate whether Apple is stifling market competition. The regulatory authority has already launched similar probes against fellow tech giants Facebook, Amazon, and Google.
The FCO said it had received a string of complaints against Apple. One was lodged by an association from the advertising and media industry against Apple’s restrictions on user tracking with the introduction of its iOS 14.5 operating system. As you might know, Facebook notably voiced the same objection, leading to a very public spat between the companies.
Another complaint accused Apple of giving itself the advantage by pre-installing its own apps on its devices. This concern is clearly shared by US lawmakers who recently proposed a law to ban Apple from preventing user removal of these pre-installed apps.
— Bundeskartellamt (@Kartellamt) June 21, 2021
German regulators also noted complaints from app developers who slam the mandatory use of Apple’s own in-app purchase system (IAP) and the 30% commission rate that comes with that. As if to furnish an example, the FCO referred to the European Union’s ongoing proceeding against Apple over a complaint made by Spotify – something we previously mentioned.
In the US itself, Apple is being sued by Epic Games over the same things – the in-app purchase system and the allegedly exorbitant commission rate. Can the company – often deemed the world’s most valuable – handle the pressure from all sides?
In Germany, Apple seems to be getting the same reception that it recently got in the UK – where the company and rival Google are being investigated for their “effective duopoly” over a range of digital markets.