More antitrust woes for Apple: it and Amazon face German antitrust scrutiny over a policy that excludes independent sellers of brand products on the online market place, Bloomberg reports.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the country’s antitrust regulator, is probing both tech giants over a policy at Amazon called “brandgating,” the authority said in an emailed statement. The policy allows makers of branded products such as iPhones to have independent sellers removed from the platform as long as Amazon can sell the items, according to the statement.
“Brandgating agreements can help to protect against product piracy,” the Cartel Office said. “But such measures must be proportionate to be in line with antitrust rules and may not result in eliminating competition.”
Companies such as Apple are being investigated for antitrust/monopoly behaviors in various countries. On Oct. 6, the U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee said Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon “have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” In the UK, The European Commission is investigating Apple for alleged anticompetitive practices involving the App Store and Apple Pay. And Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), has said that the country join forces with the U.S. and Europe to investigate an market abuses by the four Big Tech companies (which include Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google).
And advertising companies and publishers have filed a complaint against Apple with France’s competition authority, arguing that privacy changes the smartphone maker plans to roll out are anticompetitive. Starting in early 2021, Apple’s operating software will require apps to get opt-in permission from users to collect their advertising identifier, a key number used to deliver targeted ads and check how ad campaigns performed.