A German authority designated Apple as a company with outstanding cross-market importance for competition, a move which could expose the iPhone maker to early interventions from the regulator on activity deemed uncompetitive.

In a statement, Bundeskartellamt explained the decision means Apple and its subsidiaries are subject to digital regulations brought in at the start of 2021 which allow it to act quickly and more effectively against activities endangering competition.

The rules are targeted at large digital companies operating across multiple sectors and already apply to Google-parent Alphabet, Meta Platforms and Amazon. The authority is in the process of assessing Microsoft to determine if it should also be subject to the tighter rules.

Bundeskartellamt president Andreas Mundt said Apple had a “position of economic power that spans all markets, which gives the company scope for action that is not sufficiently controlled by the competition”.

He added following the designation decision “we can specifically address practices that endanger competition and effectively prevent them”.

The authority is already investigating Apple for its app-tracking policies. It noted no decision had been made about any further proceedings against the company.