Apple’s App Store Faces Antitrust Scrutiny in Germany


Apple (AAPL) has joined the list of the tech giants whose market dominance is being scrutinized by the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s antitrust regulator. Other companies in the regulator’s crosshairs include Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), and Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL).

The regulator has opened a probe into Apple’s market power, with the App Store being the main focus. According to the authority, the App Store enables Apple to influence the business operations of third parties.

The Bundeskartellamt notes that Apple’s proprietary operating system, iOS, has enabled it to build a digital ecosystem with an extensive reach. (See Apple stock chart on TipRanks).

“Today the Bundeskartellamt has initiated the first step against Apple in a proceeding to determine whether the company is of paramount significance across markets. An ecosystem which extends across various markets may be an indication that a company holds such a position. It is often very difficult for other companies to challenge such a position of power,” the authority said in a press release.

Building on the initial probe to determine market power, Germany will look broadly into Apple’s practices. For example, the Bundeskartellamt says it has received complaints about Apple’s in-app purchase system and restricting user tracking on iOS.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives has reiterated a Buy with a price target of $185 on Apple stock. Ives’ price target suggests 39.83% upside potential.

“This positive outlook gives us enhanced confidence that 2021’s launch timing will be normal. From a timing perspective, we believe the current iPhone 13 launch is slated for the third week in September,” Ives said.

Consensus among analysts is a Moderate Buy based on 20 Buys, 5 Holds, and 2 Sells. The average Apple analyst price target of $157.88 implies 19.33% upside potential from current levels.

AAPL scores a “Perfect 10” on TipRanks’ Smart Score rating system, indicating that the stock has strong potential to outperform market expectations.

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