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Apple hit with German antitrust complaints as it prepares to roll out new iPhone software

Complaints against Apple in Germany ahead of new software release

April 27, 2021: -Apple has been accused of antitrust abuse in Germany as it prepares to roll out a new version of its iPhone software.

On Monday, a complaint was filed to Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition regulator.

Apple’s iOS 14.5 software, expected rolled out on Monday, will include a feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT). The part will force app developers to ask users if they’re okay to be tracked for advertising purposes, and most of the iPhone users are expected to decline.

Companies that are dependent on online advertising, especially Facebook, have said that the privacy change will decrease the effectiveness and profitability of targeted ads and potentially roil the online advertising business.

It was complained by ZAW, the German Advertising Federation, on behalf of the nine industry associations that it represents. The association’s members include Facebook and media giant Axel Springer, owners of Insider and Bild.

ZAW argues in the complaint that Apple’s ATT part is abusing its market power and violates its antitrust law.

“Through these unilaterally imposed measures, Apple excludes all competitors from processing commercially relevant data in the Apple ecosystem,” ZAW said in a press release.

“At the same time, the group excludes its own services from the planned changes and collects significant amounts of user data itself,” ZAW added. However, it has been said previously that the changes would bolster user privacy.

In March, France Digitale, a French start-up lobby group, filed a complaint against Apple with the nation’s privacy regulator, saying that Apple’s mobile operating system may breach European Union rules.

The campaign group argued that Apple might be collecting user data for ad tracking services without explicitly asking permission. It called on France’s privacy regulator, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés to investigate. It claimed that Apple has its “Personalized Ads” option by default on iPhones with iOS 14 installed. Apple said these allegations were false.

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