The German Bundeskartellamt: Apple’s in Trouble


The 2020s are shaping up to be big years for governments’ antitrust legislation all over the world. Earlier this month, Germany’s Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office FCO) regulator designated Apple a “company of paramount significance for competition across markets,” adding Apple Inc. to Google and Meta which were determined with binding effect the same on May 5th and 4th of 2022 respectively.

The Bundeskartellamt is an independent regulatory body operating under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It is also responsible for enforcing competition laws and ensuring fair market competition in Germany. If it determines that a company is of “paramount significance for competition across markets,” meaning it has significant market power influencing competition in multiple markets, the agency has the power to impose fines, prohibit anti-competitive behavior, and order companies to take corrective measures. Its decisions can be appealed in court. It’s important to note that any actions taken by a competition authority would depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the findings of the investigation.

What Happens to Apple Now?

Apple has joined Germany’s “of paramount significance” club alongside Amazon. Google, and Meta. Due to its strong economic position in multiple markets, Apple has significant leeway for action that is not adequately constrained by competition. Through its mobile devices, Apple has established a comprehensive digital ecosystem that has a major impact on competition globally, not just in Germany. The company’s exclusive products, iOS and the App Store, play a critical role in both competition and customer access to the ecosystem. This ruling empowers the Bundeskartellamt to take targeted measures to prevent and prohibit anti-competitive behavior effectively.

While the ramifications are still unclear, here’s a rough breakdown of why was Apple determined as such.


When using an iPhone, you can only access the App Store, which is owned and controlled by Apple, promoting their own apps and services over those of other companies.

Tying or Bundling Strategies

Apple allegedly uses its dominant position in the App Store to force developers to use its own payment system, thus earning a commission. This has been seen as a tying strategy that makes it difficult for developers to offer alternatives.

Barriers to Market

For one, Apple has control over data collected from its App Store, giving it insight into the performance and popularity of third-party apps. It then allegedly uses this data to create its own competing apps and services.


Apple’s proprietary lightning cable for charging iPhones is not compatible with non-Apple devices, which can make it difficult for users to switch to a different phone brand.

Final Thoughts

While some people are rejoicing over this, especially since the FCO has set its eyes on Microsoft next, I can’t help but wonder why the U.S. antitrust investigation is still underway and the U.K’s has failed, meanwhile, Germany is over here kicking down doors and taking names.

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Tech sections to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.