European Commission general the preliminary results of the antitrust case involved Apple Pay on iOS devices. According to antitrust investigators, Apple has abused its dominant position because competitors cannot provide NFC-enabled contactless payments on the iPhone to develop other mobile wallets and compete fairly with Apple Pay.
The Commission says NFC is the standard technology for contactless payments and should be open to everyone. While third-party developers can take advantage of the API to read and write NFC tags, they can’t use the NFC antenna in their apps to create Apple Pay competitors.
“Mobile payments are playing a rapidly growing role in our digital economy. For the integration of European payment markets, it is essential that consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payment environment,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, in a statement.
“We have indications that Apple has restricted third party access to key technologies needed to develop competing mobile wallet solutions on Apple devices. In our Statement of Objection, we tentatively determined that Apple may have restricted competition in favor of its own Apple Pay solution. If confirmed, such conduct would be illegal under our competition rules,” she added.
According to regulators in Brussels, the main problem is that NFC is available in almost all payment terminals, but only Apple Pay can communicate wirelessly with payment terminals via NFC. It’s a standardized, secure, and easy way to pay, which may explain why Apple Pay has gained market share.
Today’s statement of objections is the result of an investigation formally launched in June 2020. At the time, the Commission announced that it would be considering Apple Pay as a whole. Apple Pay can also be used to pay online and in the app. But now the Commission says the only problem is limiting NFC payments.
“Apple Pay is just one of many payment options available to European consumers and provides equal access to NFC while setting industry-leading privacy and security standards.” Apple told Reuters. in a statement.
And it is true. Other companies such as PayPal and Starbucks have used QR codes for mobile payments on the iPhone. Usually, people show a QR code on their phone and store employees scan the code.
Some mobile wallets, such as WeChat Pay and AliPay, have even flourished thanks to the use of QR codes. But it’s been an uphill battle as Apple Pay remains more convenient for end customers.
Earlier this year, Apple even announced that it plans to introduce a new one-touch payment feature. It will turn any iPhone into a contactless payment terminal. Of course, it will support Android phones and Google Pay. But iPhone users will only be able to pay using Apple Pay.
After filing objections, Apple now has the opportunity to respond to the allegations. The Company may send written responses or request an oral hearing. Apple risks a hefty fine if the Commission concludes that Apple has violated antitrust rules.
Credit: techcrunch.com /