The German anti-trust watchdog Federal Cartel Office (FCO) on Monday initiated an investigation against Apple based on new competition rules for large digital companies, the authority stated in a press release. FCO has already initiated similar investigations against Facebook, Amazon, and Google, over the last few months. In January this year, Germany amended the German Competition Act (GWB Digitalisation Act) empowering the government to target the practices of large digital companies "by prohibiting companies that are of paramount significance for competition across markets from engaging in anti-competitive practices." What is the investigation about? The first step of the investigation against Apple is to determine whether the company is of paramount significance across markets. "An ecosystem which extends across various markets may be an indication that a company holds such a position. It is often very difficult for other companies to challenge such a position of power," the release stated. "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. 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." – Andreas Mundt, President of the FCO What are the next steps? If it is determined…
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