Bundeskartellamt: Apple comes under stricter supervision
After Google and Facebook, the Federal Cartel Office is now also targeting the iPhone manufacturer Apple. Does Apple’s “position of economic power” reduce competition? The company sees it very differently.
The Federal Cartel Office wants to put Apple under stricter competition supervision after other tech giants. The authority classified the iPhone group on Wednesday as a company with “outstanding cross-market importance for competition”. Apple plans to appeal the decision.
The President of the Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt, emphasized that Apple’s “economic power position” gave the group “behavioural leeway that was not adequately controlled by the competition”. Among other things, he referred to the economic ecosystem surrounding the iPhone.
Apple has “dominant, but at least strong market positions on all vertically connected levels, starting with smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, through its own operating systems to the Apple App Store,” argued the Cartel Office.
Apple countered: “The classification of the Federal Cartel Office misrepresents the tough competition that Apple is exposed to in Germany.” The agency’s assessment also neglects the value of a business model that focuses on user privacy and security. Apple will continue to work with the Federal Cartel Office “to understand the concerns”.
In 2021, the Cartel Office was given more powers over companies with cross-market influence and can prohibit them from practices that it believes endanger competition.
Google parent Alphabet was classified as such a company in January 2022, followed by Facebook group Meta in May and Amazon in July. Just like Apple, the world’s largest online retailer does not want to accept this – the complaint lies with the Federal Court of Justice. An audit has been initiated on Microsoft.
Cartel Office case report on Apple