EU Regulators to Charge Apple over Apple Pay’s Anti-Competitive Practices

Apple Pay

The European antitrust regulator will send Apple a formal notice next year, charging it with anti-competitive behavior because it limits iPhone’s NFC technology to Apple Pay only.

Unnamed sources familiar with the regulator said that the EU is drafting a statement of objections following an investigation into whether Apple unfairly locks out the competition, thereby giving Apple Pay a competitive edge in the market with exclusive ability to use iPhone’s NFC “tap and go” technology. The notice could reportedly force Apple to open its mobile payment system to rivals.

When the investigation was opened in July 2020, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said:

“it appears that Apple sets the conditions on how Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites. It also reserves the “tap and go” functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay. It is important that Apple’s measures do not deny consumers the benefits of new payment technologies, including better choice, quality, innovation, and competitive prices. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s practices regarding Apple Pay and their impact on competition.”

The EU is simultaneously pressuring Apple into allowing alternative app stores. At the time the company termed the move “disappointing” and said the EU was just “advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride.” The EU had received complaints from Apple Pay rivals as early as 2019. In October 2019, it contacted online retailers to discuss the impact of Apple and its payment systems.

The Cupertino giant added that these entities “don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else.” Apple claimed that it wanted to maintain a level playing field for anyone with determination so a great idea can succeed.

[Via Reuters]