Germany’s Federal Cartel Office launched a proble to determine whether Apple had established market dominance by creating a digital ecosystem centred around its iPhone and iOS.

The probe completes a quartet of investigations launched by the regulator against the tech big four in 2021, with Facebook, Amazon and Google also facing the heat.

Germany stepped-up governance of big technology companies, with new laws giving the cartel office the ability to prohibit major companies across markets from engaging in anti-competitive practices.

The regulator stated it aimed to determine the significance of Apple’s activities across sectors, examining if its iOS digital ecosystem had led to market dominance.

Andreas Mundt, president of the body, noted Apple produced numerous hardware products in addition to services including App Store, iCloud, Apple Music and Apple TV.

The regulator said it would assess Apple’s position in those areas and explore the “magnitude of its technological and financial resources and its access to data”.

A main focus of the investigations will be on the operation of the App Store as it enables Apple “in many ways to influence the business activities of third parties,” Mundt said.

Based on its findings, the regulator said it would also look into complaints raised by other parties, including the European Commission, on issues such as in-app purchase fees, user tracking in its new iOS 14.5 update and Apple’s ongoing row with Spotify.

Germany’s move comes after the UK launched a study into both Apple and Google’s dominance across sectors last week.