Why Europe believes Apple Pay is anti-competitive

The European Commission believes that Apple is abusing its dominant position in the market for mobile wallets on iOS devices.

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As a reminder, Apple Pay is Apple’s proprietary solution for mobile payment. © prima91 – stock.adobe.com

In an official press release, the European Commission has just announced “that it considered, on a preliminary basis, that the company (Apple) was abusing its dominant position in the mobile wallet markets on iOS devices. » The objective for Europe: to continue to fight against the anti-competitive practices of the tech giants.

Why is Apple Pay considered anti-competitive?

The main reason: Europe considers that Apple “limits access to standard technology for making in-store contactless payments using NFC (Near Field Communication) or “tap and go” mobile devices. »

By reserving this technology, Apple retains a certain monopoly on the market for mobile wallets on iOS. Europe simply doesn’t want Apple to block mobile wallet app developers from accessing necessary hardware and software (“NFC input”) on its devices, in favor of its own payment service.

We have evidence that Apple has restricted third-party access to key technology needed to develop competing mobile wallet solutions on Apple devices, said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of competetion.

According to Europe, Apple’s practices can lead to certain consequences:

  • Foreclosure effects for its competitors,
  • A weakening of innovation,
  • Limited choice for consumers.

Could Apple be sanctioned soon?

For now, the European Commission is just sending some kind of alert to Apple about its mobile payment service and its way of restricting access to the technology to other iOS developers. It is more specifically a statement of objections (a mandatory preparatory act before any final decision) but “the sending of a statement of objections does not prejudge the outcome of an investigation”, states the press release.

Procedures often take several months. We will therefore still have to wait to know the final outcome. If the abuse of a dominant position for Apple Pay was subsequently confirmed, the American firm could well be inflicted with sanctions: “Such behavior would be illegal under our competition rules”, highlights Margrethe Vestager.

Source: European Commission

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