Apple iOS 14 Faces Ad-Related Antitrust Inquiry in France

France's competition authority will look into claims that Apple's iOS 14 software will improperly block advertisers from collecting user data.
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France’s antitrust authorities will be looking into Apple's  (AAPL) - Get Report App Tracking Transparency feature on its upcoming iOS 14 software update.

The effort follows complaints from French advertisers that the way the feature is designed will prevent them from being able to generate revenue from user data, media reports say.

The iOS 14 update is set to include an opt-in permission, which will allow users to turn off tracking features. 

Advertisers randomly collect data from users to generate personalized ads and track how well their ads are performing.

With this feature turned off, advertisers will not be able to access the random advertising identifiers they require to optimally generate ads. This, they fear, will lead to massive losses in revenue, media reports say.

The antitrust probe argues that Apple’s own data-tracking system for ads will not receive the same opt-in option.

Currently, the French competition authority has held off on any actions that would bar Apple from releasing its software. But the agency said the claim is under investigation.

The French competition authority chief, Isabelle de Silva, told reporters at a Paris news conference that the “case shows the need for fast antitrust action into technical issues.” The agency is paying particular attention to whether Apple is using less-strict permissions for its own data tracking.

De Silva said a final ruling will come by early 2022 at the latest.

“We’re grateful to the French Competition Authority for recognizing that App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 is in the best interest of French iOS users,” Apple said in a statement.

At last check Apple shares were trading 1.9% lower at $123.17.