The German Federal Competition Commission (FCO) on June 21 opened an antitrust investigation against Apple. Thus, Apple has become the fourth US technology company to be investigated for antitrust in Germany.
|Germany, Europe squeeze US technology companies. Illustration|
In recent weeks, the FCO has opened similar investigations into Amazon, Google and Facebook under a new law that took effect in January, giving regulators more power to control companies. big tech company.
The FCO has launched an initial investigation to determine whether Apple has influence in multiple markets.
The agency says an ecosystem that spans many different markets can be a sign that a company is in a position of great influence that makes it difficult for other companies to compete.
FCO director Andreas Mundt told the media the agency will look to see if Apple creates a large digital ecosystem in many markets around the iPhone alongside its iOS operating system.
Mundt said the main focus of the investigation will be on the operation of the App Store, because in many cases the app has allowed Apple to influence third-party business.
After the aforementioned initial phase, the FCO may then consider certain other issues after receiving complaints from multiple companies about Apple’s potentially anti-competitive practices.
Responding to the statement from the FCO, an Apple spokesperson said that the App Store offers software developers in Germany an equal opportunity. The company looks forward to discussing openly with the German Federal Antitrust Watchdog about its approach to users, as well as any issues of concern to the FCO.
The latest move by the German regulator comes after a draft of the European Union (EU) law was announced in December last year to curb the power of the technology “giants”, and project This law could change the “rules of the game” in the EU for tech companies from Silicon Valley.
In mid-June last year, the European Union’s Antitrust Authority said it had opened two investigations into Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay.
According to The Verge, the European Commission (EC) will be the agency carrying out the investigation. This is a move to verify previous allegations related to Apple’s monopolistic behavior. If found guilty, the iPhone company could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue.
“We need to make sure that Apple’s rules don’t distort competition in the markets it’s in, and don’t affect other app developers,” said Margrethe Vestager, head of the department. EU antitrust division, said.
|After Russia, Germany also tightened Apple’s activities|
Earlier, the music streaming app Spotify said that Apple used the App Store to “suppress innovation” and “limit choice” of users, and directed them to switch to Apple Music – the service. analog music player owned by Apple.
In another case, retail company Rakuten also filed a complaint with the EU that Apple took away 30% of the commission from selling e-books on the App Store. At the same time, the company also accused the US company of using its app market to promote a similar service called Apple Books.
In a separate report on the App Store investigation, Vestager said that Apple appears to have cast itself as a “gatekeeper,” authorized to “distribute apps and content to users of popular Apple devices.” “.
In addition to the App Store, the EC is also looking into possible violations of Apple Pay’s antitrust laws in the EU. Previously, Apple was said to have restricted iPhone and Apple Watch access to the NFC feature. This makes it impossible for banks and other financial service providers to use NFC for their payment apps.
The American company is in mass “trouble” in Europe and even in Russia. Last April, Russia passed a law mandating the installation of Russian domestic software on electronic devices. This will help Russian applications appear on phones manufactured by Apple, which is famous for its closed application “ecosystem”.
The Russian government requires that all electronic devices that can access the internet have local software installed or face fines. The law takes effect next July.
This controversial bill is also known as the “anti-Apple law”, because the “defective apple” has announced that it will withdraw from Russia if it is forced to install software not produced by them, but in the end still cedes the suite, allowing users to install local software when buying an iPhone.