Technology

What's Up with Apple: EU Piles On, Big Apple Stock Sale, and More

Germany has begun an investigation to determine whether or not Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has exploited its market dominance. The investigation follows similar proceedings in the European Union (EU) and the United States.

Reuters reported Monday morning that Germany’s Federal Cartel Office’s (FCO) first step would be to consider whether Apple has a “paramount significance across markets.” The investigation follows a complaint from an advertising and media group that objects to the App Tracking Transparency feature Apple introduced in its recent operating system updates for the iPhone, iPad, and other devices:

Based on this first proceeding, the [FCO] intends to assess in more detail specific practices of Apple in a possible further proceeding. In this regard, the authority has received various complaints relating to potentially anti-competitive practices.

An Apple spokesman said the company looks forward to the discussions.

After meeting with President Joe Biden during his visit to Europe last week, the head of the EU’s digital and competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, told the Financial Times that she denied the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) specifically targets U.S. tech companies. She rejected the idea that the EU “is not interested in engaging with the United States in good faith” on the issue.

Vestager said:

The [DMA] is not directed toward certain businesses or toward certain nationalities of business. … What we have been developing while trying to figure out who should be in the scope and who should be a possible gatekeeper, it has been about market effects.

The framework of the DMA is not just focused on Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft. China’s Alibaba may also be included. Last week, the Biden administration appointed Lina Khan, the country’s foremost critic of American big tech companies,  as head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The week before, the U.S. House introduced five bills that seek to rein in the power of big tech.

H.M Payson, a market-beating registered investment advisor (RIA), reported last week that it had sold some of its shares of Apple and used the proceeds to add 44,284 new Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B) to its portfolio. The firm now owns 250,387 Class B shares in Warren Buffett’s conglomerate, valued at around $68.6 million. According to a report in Barron’s, Payson has $5.86 billion in assets under management and manages a single mutual fund, the Payson Total Return Fund (NASDAQ:  PBFDX).

Finally, a Saturday report in AppleInsider, suggests that Google may be working on a program similar to Apple’s Find My network, which was released in late April and is designed to help people track and find lost devices like Watches and iPhones. Google’s current Find My Device Network is not capable of using nearby devices to locate a lost Android device.