The guarantor German antitrust (Federal Cartel Office) began an investigation to assess whether Apple’s anti-tracking gives an unfair competitive advantage to Apple’s services. The transparency rules introduced with iOS 14.5 they changed the rules for targeted advertising on the iPhone. But the German regulator wants to understand if they also apply to Apple itself.
German antitrust investigates Apple for anti-tracking from iOS 14.5
In 2021, Apple introduced theApp Tracking Transparency Framework (ATT), new rules for advertising tracking on iPhone, iPad and AppleTV. The idea is to give the end user the choice of whether or not to allow third-party apps to collect data and then use it for targeted advertising auctionsa.
The first time you open an app, a pop-up will warn you that the app in question wants to collect data on your advertisements in order to show personalized advertisements. Users can allow tracking or ask the app not to.
Apple Store in New York, USA
This novelty has certainly brought more transparency in the management of user data. Even if companies like Facebook e Instagram they pointed out that it was a problem not only for their own business but also for that of partners, even of small companies that buy advertising on social media. But Meta has now introduced new APIs to measure aggregate data davailable and continue to provide advertising.
Antitrust has nothing to say about the practice of transparency itself. But he wonders if these restrictions actually apply to Apple itself.
The Bundeskartellamt explains: “A company like Apple, which is able to unilaterally set the rules for its ecosystem, especially its app store, should adopt pro-competitive rules. We have reason to doubt that this is the case when we see that Apple’s rules apply to third parties, but not to Apple itself. This would allow Apple to prioritize its own offers or hinder other companies. “
The German Guarantor would therefore like the pop-up for transparency to appear also by opening Apple’s apps and services. Furthermore, even if the Apple does not use the data to sell advertising, it remains to be seen if there is uses for other commercial purposes. For example to propose offers on the App Store.
The issue seems far from simple, but the German antitrust seems willing to go all the way. We will keep you updated about it.