Apple is going to have to deal a new German antitrust probe into its platforms

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Germany has opened a new investigation into Apple and potential antitrust issues.
  • Apple's digital ecossytem spreads into seceral markets and that could cause competing companies to face roadblocks.

Apple will have to face another new challenge to the way it does business, this time coming out of Germany. Officials announced today that they intend to look into Apple and the way its "digital ecosystem" extends into multiple markets.

The news comes as Apple finds itself in hot water left and right with multiple countries and officials considering how its App Store and other services could prevent competition from being able to get a foothold. It also comes hot on the heels of the recent Epic Games court case surrounding the App Store, too.

In this instance, it's a broader investigation into whether Apple "is of paramount significance across markets."

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "We will now examine whether with its proprietary operating system iOS, Apple has created a digital ecosystem around its iPhone that extends across several markets. Apple produces tablets, computers and wearables and provides a host of device-related services. In addition to manufacturing various hardware products, the tech company also offers the App Store, iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+ as well as other services as part of its services business. Besides assessing the company's position in these areas, we will, among other aspects, examine its extensive integration across several market levels, the magnitude of its technological and financial resources and its access to data. 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 announcement, first spotted by MacRumors, doesn't go into any specifics as to what mechanisms Germany might put in place based on the investigation's outcome, but there's a chance Apple could be prevented from being involved in the many markets it now operates in – whether that's preventing it from bundling its own apps on iPhones to the way Apple TV+ and Apple Music are bundled in with new hardware sales.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.