Apple Facing New Antitrust Complaint In Germany Over App Tracking

Following a recent antitrust complaint in France, Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency framework is facing a similar challenge in Germany. 

A coalition of industry associations, collectively representing many of the country’s leading media and tech companies, is centering its complaint on the expected severe loss of revenue for the targeted advertising industry and an expected passing on of those costs to consumers; in other words, apps that were previously free with advertising will have to shift to paid models to survive, or be forced to abandon iOS.

The antitrust complaint represents a wide variety of companies in the advertising, tech, and media industries, including Facebook and Axel Springer SE (Europe’s largest digital news publishing house). It was filed with the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition regulator, by the German Advertising Federation.

The German companies contend that they expect revenue to drop due to 60% due to the recent implementation of the final stage of the App Tracking Transparency framework, which requires apps to obtain permission to track users through a mandatory pop-up presented upon download.

The complaint also claims that taking consent-free app tracking off the table will harm consumers, given that apps that relied on it for revenue will either need to start asking for some sort of direct payment or may go out of business entirely.