Last week, we spoke about digital platforms competing with mobile carriers. Today, let’s discuss competition and privacy. Last month, Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature. The latter requires users to allow or not to allow applications to track their data and device data for personalized advertising, advertising measurement purposes, or data-sharing with data brokers. As of May 25, 2021, 14% of users worldwide allow tracking, according to data from Flurry. Put it differently, 86% of users do not allow tracking—a sign that people care about privacy.
(source: ZN services)
In addition, a large majority of users are supportive of the feature (74%) and would like a similar one on Android (86,08%), according to surveys from Axway and Android Authority, respectively. However, the implementation triggers concerns of anti-competitive practice in France and Germany by some publishers. The plaintiffs argue that Apple may exclude rivals by denying them a source of advertising revenue while steering advertisers on Apple. Regardless of whether Apple is a significant source of advertising revenue or not for app developers and publishers and on whether they have an alternative source of advertising revenue on other devices (e.g., desktop), OS platforms (e.g., Android OS), and websites (e.g., their own websites), the interesting question is the following: How can an OS platform offer greater privacy protection to its users without triggering complaints of abuse of dominant position?
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