Supervision of tracking: Apple suspected of distorting competition in Germany

The framework for advertising tracking in place since iOS 14.5 gets Apple in a lot of trouble. The German federal competition authority has just opened an investigation to determine whether Apple is taking advantage of this feature to favor its own services or penalize third-party companies.

Application for advertising tracking authorization

“A company like Apple that is able to unilaterally set rules for its ecosystem, and in particular for its app store, should take pro-competitive measures. We have doubts about this when we see that these rules apply to third parties, but not to Apple itself”declares the German authority, which continues:

Although users can also prevent Apple from using their data for advertising purposes, preliminary findings from the Bundeskartellamt indicate that Apple is not subject to the App Tracking Transparency framework.

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) requires developers to ask users for permission to track them to personalize advertising. The ATT has, to say the least, dampened the ad revenue of different companies, like Snapchat.

In France, two complaints directly concerning this measure have been filed against Apple by advertisers and publishers, and there is even a third indirectly related. To try to get out of this trap, Apple shared a study in the spring (commissioned by it) which concludes that App Tracking Transparency does not benefit it. It will surely take more to convince the regulators.

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