France May Launch Probe into Apple’s App Tracking Policies

Citing unnamed sources, Axios is reporting that the French Competition Authority may launch an antitrust investigation into Apple’s app tracking policies.

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An investigation over complaints tied to the iPhone maker’s 2021 changes to its privacy rule changes, would mark the first major government move taken globally.

Sources told Axios that French regulators are likely to issue a formal “Statement of Objections” to parties involved in the matter in the next few weeks.

One of the complaints argued that Apple’s app tracking changes did not adhere to the EU privacy rules and that Apple failed to hold itself to the same ad targeting standards.

Apple introduced changes to its app tracking policies in 2021 that made it easier for iPhone users to opt out of being tracked across other apps on their phones

Those changes cost rivals, most notably Meta, billions of dollars in ad revenues, while Apple’s ad business has continued to grow.

That complaint was filed jointly by four French advertising trade groups i.e. IAB France, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), SRI, and UDECAM.

Back in 2021, the Authority had said the company’s changes do “not appear to reflect an abuse of a dominant position on the part of Apple.”

The French Competition Authority had also said it would not issue urgent interim measures against Apple but would continue investigating the matter.