Germany's ZAW Files Apple Abuse Complaint
April 26, 2021
Central associations of the media, internet and advertising industries filed a complaint against Apple with the Federal Cartel Office in Bonn. They claim that the company is abusing its market power and violating antitrust law with its “App Tracking Transparency” (ATT) program.
ATT, which Apple wants to implement from this week, obliges app providers to
display an opt-in window by default when user data is to be processed. Here you
have to explain to the users in accordance with Apple's specifications why you
want to track them. Apple no longer wants to approve apps without ATT.
BDZV - Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers eV,
Information community to determine the distribution of advertising media eV,
OMG eV organization of media agencies,
Organization of advertisers in the Markenverband (OWM),
VDZ Association of German Magazine Publishers V. as well as
Central Association of the German Advertising Industry ZAW eV
The members of the associations include
leading media providers, online marketers, media and advertising agencies,
advertisers and institutions for neutral social and market research. The
complaint unites the entire advertising and media industry in Germany behind it.
The information content of the declaration provided by Apple is so superficial that app developers cannot adequately educate their users about the purposes of data processing. However, this clarification is a central requirement of data protection law, which can no longer be guaranteed by this new process, which is completely decoupled.
Apple's specifications are suggestive, which means that it is to be feared that the vast majority of users will not give their consent to the processing of the data. And this even if they had already given their consent beforehand after extensive individual clarification. In addition, users can make this decision - e.g. B. after further clarification of the all-round advantages of the merging of the data - difficult to revise.
As a result, Apple effectively
excludes all competitors from processing advertising-relevant data in the Apple
ecosystem through the unilaterally imposed measures. In doing so, Apple is
harming consumers, media content providers and competitors:
Consumers will have a smaller selection of such apps, many of them will either be paid for in the future or contain more unsuitable advertising that is less relevant to the content for consumers.
The variety of press, media and broadcasting is greatly reduced because the central source of finance for numerous content providers is no longer available.
The current complaint is directed
against the way in which Apple is imposing this system change on the entire
media and advertising industry.
In connection with the introduction of "App Tracking Transparency", Apple has significantly expanded its own range of data-based advertising services, for example through additional advertising space that is made available to advertising customers. ATT makes them an indispensable advertising channel in Apple's closed ecosystem.
At the same time, Apple is strengthening its own apps such as Apple Music and News, which can gain market share over advertising-financed providers. If apps have to be converted to paid subscription models due to a lack of effective advertising options, Apple also receives a commission of usually 30 percent for all sales of digital content.