On June 21, 2021, the FCO opened an investigation against Apple under the new competition rules for companies with PCMS.[1] After proceedings against Google, Amazon and Facebook have already been launched earlier this year, Apple is the last major digital company of the GAFA to be investigated by the FCO under the new rules.

In a first step, the FCO will investigate whether Apple has PCMS through its ecosystem consisting of the operating system iOS, smartphones, computers, tablets and wearables, as well as related services such as the App Store, iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Music and Apple TV+.

In a second step, the FCO intends to review certain practices of Apple. In particular, the FCO has received various complaints regarding Apple’s restriction of user tracking in their operating system iOS by third-party advertisers, the exclusive pre-installation of Apple’s proprietary applications, the mandatory use of Apple’s payment system for in-app-purchases involving commission payments of up to 30%, and marketing restrictions for app developers.

Already in June 2020, the EC has opened investigations against Apple regarding its payment system as well as various practices relating to its App Store.[2] The FCO has announced that it intends to cooperate with the EC and other national competition agencies.

[1] See FCO’s Press Release of June 21, 2021, available in German here and in English here.

[2] Apple/App Store Practices – music streaming (Case AT.40437, Press Release available in English here), Apple/Mobile Payments (Case AT.40452, Press Release available in English here), Apple/App Store Practices – e books/audiobooks (Case AT.40652, Press Release available in English here), and Apple/App Store Practices (Case AT.40716, the EC’s opening decision dated June 16, 2020 is available in English here.).