Apple charged by Brussels with abusing its market power in mobile payments

Brussels regulators have accused Apple of violating EU competition rules by abusing its dominant position in mobile payments to restrict competitors’ access to contactless technology.

Antitrust investigators are concerned the US tech giant is preventing competitors from accessing “tap and go” chips or near field communication (NFC) to use its own Apple Pay system, the European Commission said in a statement on Monday.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s executive vice-president in charge of competition policy, said Brussels has “evidence that Apple has restricted third-party access to key technologies required for the development of competing mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices.”

She added that the Commission had “preliminarily found that Apple may have restricted competition in favor of its own Apple Pay solution.”

If confirmed, “such behavior would be illegal under our competition rules,” Vestager said. The company could face fines of up to 10 percent of global sales if the charges are upheld.

The EU indictment is the latest in a series of antitrust investigations launched against the tech giant in Brussels. Apple is also facing scrutiny of how it might put rivals on the App Store at a disadvantage by taking 30 percent of some subscription fees while denying some services the ability to tell users there are other ways to upgrade. This case was opened after music streaming service Spotify lodged a complaint with the Commission more than two years ago.

The new charges come after Brussels passed two landmark laws, including the Digital Markets Act, aimed at curbing the power of big tech giants.

In its preliminary findings in the latest case, Brussels said it believes Apple “enjoys significant market power in the smart mobile device market and a dominant position in the mobile wallet markets.”

The findings of the research added: “Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet solution that can access the required NFC input on iOS. Apple does not make it available to third-party mobile wallet app developers. NFC tap-and-go technology is built into Apple mobile devices for in-store payments.”

Apple said: “We developed Apple Pay to provide a simple and secure way for users to present their existing payment cards digitally and for banks and other financial institutions to offer contactless payments to their customers. Just one of many payment options available to European consumers, Apple Pay has ensured equal access to NFC while setting industry-leading standards for privacy and security.

“We will continue to work with the Commission to ensure European consumers have access to the payment option of their choice in a safe and secure environment.”

Vestager said: “Mobile payments are playing a rapidly growing role in our digital economy. It is important for the integration of the European payment markets that consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payments landscape.”

Apple charged by Brussels with abusing its market power in mobile payments Source link Apple charged by Brussels with abusing its market power in mobile payments

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