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Apple is under investigation in Italy for possible anti-competitive practices

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Thursday, May 11, the Italian authority to monitor competition practices announced that it is opening an investigation into Apple for abuse of a dominant position in the app market.

the Italian competition authority,Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato salad (AGCM), that Apple has a stricter privacy policy for third-party app developers than it does for itself.

The watchdog said this double standard, in place since April 2021, means that users of non-Apple apps receive clearer prompts to consent to data tracking from third-party developers.

The regulator added that the prompts on third-party apps are also worded more strongly than those on Apple’s original apps, and contain stronger language that prevents users from opting in to tracking.

Compared with Apple, third-party app developers are also less able to identify users and monitor the success of ad campaigns, as the tech giant gives them access to less comprehensive tools that provide less information than those it uses itself, the AGCM said.

The regulator said Apple’s behavior puts third-party developers at a disadvantage to the tech giant, explaining that such a move could reduce advertising revenue from third-party developers and drive away competition.

In recent years, regulators around the world have stepped up their efforts to limit the powers of big tech companies. European regulators have been particularly active in this area, and the European Union (EU) has some of the strictest rules in the world. Regulators have proven influential in shaping industry approaches globally, particularly when it comes to personal data, as competition and privacy watchdogs scramble to grapple with the issue. All of the big tech players, including Meta, Amazon, and Alphabet, have come under scrutiny. Giant Apple is often targeted due to its dominant position as the custodian of what can be used and installed on its popular range of mobile devices, computers and other technology using its iOS operating system, giving it a dominant position in the market and has already been the subject of numerous investigations in the past.

Investigations of this kind can take a long time, even years. In addition, any decision can be appealed at several levels, which leads to a lengthening of the investigation. Penalties for breaching Europe’s antitrust rules can be severe, and companies found to have breached EU rules against abuse of market dominance are liable to a fine of up to 10% of their annual sales for the year preceding the decision. However, this is an upper limit and fines are unlikely to reach that level. For Apple, which reported annual revenue of 394.3 billion dollars For fiscal year 2022, a 10% fine would amount to nearly $40 billion.

The European Union’s antitrust watchdog said on Wednesday it was taking a closer look at Apple’s mobile payment system and collecting more information about chip use. Last year, the European Union brought formal charges against the tech giant, accusing it of unfairly restricting competition in the mobile wallet market for its devices.

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Robert Hart

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