Kolkata, India: On Monday, Germany launched an investigation into Apple’s anti-competitive activities, making it the fourth US tech company to face such scrutiny.
Under a new rule that went into effect in January, giving regulators more power to rein in giant tech corporations, the antitrust authority started similar probes against Amazon, Google, and Facebook in recent weeks.
According to the watchdog, the first step of the investigation is underway to see if Apple has “cross-market importance.”
“An ecosystem extending across different markets can be one indication of such a position held by a company,” said the authority. “Such positions of power can make it very hard for other companies to counter it.”
Andreas Mundt, the head of the Federal Cartel Office, said his agency will investigate whether Apple has built a digital ecosystem around the iPhone and its proprietary operating system iOS across multiple regions.
“A key focus of the investigation will be the operation of the App Store, because in many cases, it empowers Apple to have an influence on the business activities of third parties,” he added.
After receiving complaints from “many companies regarding alleged anticompetitive conduct” during the initial stage of the investigation, the agency may look into other specific issues.
This includes a protest about the company’s purported user monitoring restrictions with the release of the iOS 14.5 operating system.
App makers have also complained about the use of Apple’s mechanism for in-app purchases, according to the report.
Germany’s harsher stance against the tech behemoths follows the unveiling of new EU draught laws in December aimed at limiting the dominance of the internet behemoths, which might disrupt Silicon Valley’s ability to operate in the 27-nation bloc.
The effort to strengthen regulations comes as giant tech corporations face increased scrutiny throughout the world, particularly in the United States, where antitrust actions have been filed against Google and Facebook.