Germany opens antitrust investigation into Apple’s marketplace dominance

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
Germany is looking into whether Apple has too much power.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Germany’s antitrust watchdog said Monday it is launching an antitrust investigation to see whether Apple has a “paramount significance across markets.”

According to Reuters, the probe by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office was partly prompted by advertising and media industry complaints over Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature.

“Based on this first proceeding, the (FCO) intends to assess in more detail specific practices of Apple in a possible further proceeding,” notes the investigatory paperwork. “In this regard, the authority has received various complaints relating to potentially anti-competitive practices.”

Apple says it looks forward to “discussing our approach with the FCO and having an open dialogue about any of their concerns.”

The European Union vs. Apple

One of the leading countries in the European Union, Germany previously announced investigations into Facebook, Amazon and Google over different complaints. And given how much scrutiny the EU has placed Apple under, it’s no surprise to hear Germany begin its own investigation.

The European Union is already probing Apple’s control of the App Store. Another EU investigation is looking into Apple Pay. Another is eyeing Apple’s potential to be a “gatekeeper” in the smart home industry.

Source: Reuters

Apple steps up renewable energy efforts in Europe with new investments

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Apple Denmark renewable energy
Apple will invest in two of the world's largest onshore wind turbines.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Thursday confirmed plans to expand its renewable energy footprint in Europe. Cupertino will invest in the world’s largest onshore wind turbines in Denmark and in new clean energy efforts in Germany.

The moves are part of Apple’s plan, announced last month, to become carbon neutral across its entire business and supply chain.

Apple Store’s temperature checks may violate German privacy rules

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Apple Store Hamburg line iPhone 6s
Apple Stores, like this one in Hamburg, Germany, are digitally checking the temperatures of customers as they enter.
Photo: Thomas Knoop (via Twitter)

As Apple reopens its retail stores throughout Germany, regulators are considering investigating whether temperature checks of customers to ensure the safety of visitors and employees is a violation of European Union privacy laws.

Apple to reopen all 15 retail stores in Germany May 11

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apple.store.germany
15 Apple stores reopen in Germany on Monday as pandemic precautions ease in parts of Europe.
Photo: Corporate Dispatch

Apple plans to reopen all its 15 retail stores in Germany on May 11, according to a published report.

Germany will become only the second country in Europe to resume Apple Store operations since the majority of locations closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic almost two months ago.

Germany flip-flops on contact-tracing tech, now embraces Apple’s approach

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bluetooth-tracing
Apple and Google support a decentralized approach to contact-tracing.
Photo: Apple/Google

Germany has reportedly changed its mind over whether or not to embrace the decentralized approach to contact-tracing technology supported by Apple and Google.

As recently as the end of last week, Germany was backing a centralized standard technology called PEPP-PT. This stands for called Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing. It has now seemingly switched its support to a “strongly decentralized” approach. This is the approach backed by Apple and Google.

Disney+ racks up 5 million downloads on launch day in Europe

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disney.plus.uk.2
Disney+ has finally landed in the UK.
Photo: Apple

The Disney+ mobile app is off to a roaring start in Europe and the UK just days after it launched earlier this week.

Third-party app analytics firm App Annie revealed that the Disney+ app has been downloaded over 5 million times on launch day, possibly thanks to millions of residents having to shelter-in-place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Streisand effect drives book Apple tried to halt to no. 1 on Amazon

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App Store Confidential
Who would've thought publicity would've helped?
Screenshot: Amazon

Call it the Streisand effect if you want, but the book written by a former App Store manager that Apple attempted to ban has risen to the number one spot on Amazon’s book charts in the writer’s native country.

Apple lawyers have tried to lean on the publishers to destroy all copies of the book. They claim that it contains inside secrets.

Unsurprisingly, this has sparked a whole lot of interest in a book that — by its own admission — shares only publicly available details about how Apple approves third-party apps in Germany.

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iWork, Office and Google Docs banned from German schools

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iWork
iWork could expose user data to U.S. authorities.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s iWork platform has been banned from German schools alongside Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs.

Privacy regulators say that using the cloud-based services “exposes personal information about students and teachers.” They also suggest that the data might be accessed by U.S. authorities.