The news comes at a time when the iPhone-maker is facing several antitrust investigations around the world over its business practices.
The main focus of many of these probes is the company’s controversial App Tracking Transparency framework, which came into effect in April 2021 and now requires iOS developers to get user consent in order to track their data to show them personalized ads.
In its press release, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) said: ‘’…third-party developers and advertisers appear to be disadvantaged in terms of the quality and detail of the data made available by Apple regarding the effectiveness of advertising campaigns on their applications. This happens due to the technical characteristics of the programming interface they can access – SkadNetwork – which appears much less effective than Apple Ads Attribution , the tool that Apple adopts for itself.’’ (machine translation, via TechCrunch)
“The availability of data relating to both user profiling and the measurement of the effectiveness of advertising campaigns — while in compliance with privacy protection regulations — are essential elements for the attractiveness of the advertising spaces sold by app developers and purchased by advertisers,’’ the AGCM added. ‘’For this reason, according to the Authority, Apple’s alleged discriminatory conduct may cause a drop in advertising revenue from third-party advertisers, to the benefit of its commercial division; reduce entry and/or prevent competitors from remaining in the app development and distribution market; benefit their own apps and, consequently, mobile devices and the Apple iOS operating system.”
Following the statement, an Apple spokesperson said that they ‘’will continue to engage constructively with the AGCM to address any of their questions.’’
‘’At Apple, we believe that a user’s data belongs to them and they should get to decide whether to share their data and with whom. App Tracking Transparency simply gives users the choice whether or not they want to allow apps to track them or share their information with data brokers. These rules apply equally to all developers — including Apple — and we have received strong support from regulators and privacy advocates for this feature.’’