Antitrust Complaint Filed Against Apple In Germany Over Its New iPhone Software

Even as Apple gets ready to roll out a new version of its iPhone software, the company has been accused of antitrust abuse in Germany.

A complaint against the company was filed on Monday to Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition regulator. The news, first reported by The Financial Times, was later confirmed by a Bundeskartellamt spokesperson.

Apple’s iOS 14.5 software — expected to be rolled out on Monday — will include a feature called ATT, or App Tracking Transparency. According to this feature, app developers will be forced to aske users whether they were happy to be tracked for advertising purposes and it is expected that many of the iPhone users will say no.

This change in privacy policy will bring down the effectiveness and profitability of targeted ads and possibly upend the online advertising business, said companies like Facebook that depend on online advertising.

ZAW, the German Advertising Federation, had filed the complaint on behalf of the nine industry associations that it represents. Facebook and media giant Axel Springer, which owns Insider and Bild are members of the association.

While abusing the market power it has, Apple’s ATT feature also threatens to violate antitrust law, ZAW argued in the complaint against the iPhone maker.

“Through these unilaterally imposed measures, Apple effectively excludes all competitors from processing commercially relevant data in the Apple ecosystem,” ZAW said in a press release. “At the same time, however, the group excludes its own (advertising) services from the planned changes and collects significant amounts of user data itself.”

There were no comments available from Apple on the news.

Another complaint was filed against Apple in France with the country’s privacy regulator in In March by France Digitale, a French start-up lobby group, alleging that European Union rules might have been breached by Apple’s mobile operating system.

Apple could be itself gathering user data for ad tracking services without explicitly seeking permission from the users, the campaign group argued, and it appealed to the privacy regulator of France, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, to start an investigation in the matter. The group specifically claimed that the iPhones have the “Personalized Ads” option on by default – which is done by Apple, that have the iOS 14 installed in them.

These allegations have been denied by Apple.

(Adapted from CNBC.com)



Categories: Creativity, Economy & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability, Uncategorized

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