Apple Inc. became the fourth Big Tech target for Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, as the regulator used its new powers to scrutinize whether the iPhone maker’s ecosystem of products and services endangers competition.
The agency on Monday announced a case against Apple based on the new competition rules for large digital companies. Since the start of the year, the agency has opened similar investigations against Facebook Inc., Google and Amazon.com Inc.
The Cartel Office said it will examine whether Apple has created a digital ecosystem around its iPhone that extends across several markets. The office cited Apple’s various products — like tablets, computers and wearables — as well as its device-related services, and the App Store, iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+.
“Besides assessing the company’s position in these areas, we will examine its extensive integration across several market levels, the magnitude of its technological and financial resources and its access to data,” Andreas Mundt, the regulator’s head said. “A main focus of the investigations will be on the operation of the App Store as it enables Apple in many ways to influence the business activities of third parties.”
The Cartel Office is also contemplating additional proceedings based on complaints from the advertising and media industry against Apple.