The German antitrust watchdog has launched an investigation into tech group Apple. The company’s market power is being looked at in a broader study of the company’s “digital ecosystem”.
“The investigations will mainly focus on the operation of the App Store, as Apple can influence the business activities of third parties in many ways,” said Andreas Mundt, the chief of the regulator. However, he will also discuss in detail the extent of Apple’s technological and financial resources.
Apple’s access to data will also be investigated. At the beginning of this year, the German antitrust regulator was given new powers to act against so-called digital platforms that play a crucial role in the online economy.
The Bundeskartellamt is also considering additional procedures in response to complaints from the advertising and media sector. These include planned privacy restrictions on how advertisers track users and Apple’s practices in placing its own services on its devices. Regulators can also look into the mandatory use of Apple’s in-app payment service, which is also the subject of an investigation by the European Commission.
Apple responded by saying that the App Store is an engine for innovation and job creation and that the “iOS app economy” in Germany provides more than 250,000 jobs.
The App Store would give all German developers, no matter how big, the same opportunity to share their “passion and creativity” with users worldwide, the company said. Apple says it looks forward to open dialogue with the regulator about any objections.