Germany’s antitrust watchdog is following closely a legal row over Apple’s App Store payment terms, saying on Wednesday it could in principle open a national inquiry, reported Reuters.
Apple dropped Epic Gamesafter a dispute in which the ‘Fortnite’ creator alleged that the iPhone maker’s in-app payment terms constitute a monopoly.
“This has most certainly attracted our interest,” said Andreas Mundt, head of the Federal Cartel Office. “We are at the beginning, but we are looking at this very closely.”
Apple ditched Epic after it implemented a feature to let iPhone users make in-app purchases directly, rather than with Apple’s system, which charges a 30% fee.
Mundt told an online briefing that Apple’s App Store and the Play Store that serves smartphones running on Google’s Android operating system represented an “interesting habitat because they are the only two worldwide”.
Although the Bonn-based authority does have the power to impose fines, it typically undertakes administrative probes into big technology firms to establish whether they are abusing their market dominance and then seeks a change in the way they work.