As expected from previous actions and statements, the European Union formally objected Monday to how Apple denies other companies use of the technology that drives Apple Pay.
EU issues preliminary objections to Apple’s control of NFC payments via Apple Pay in iPhones
Via the European Commission’s competition arm, the EU issued its preliminary view of Apple’s control of the near-field communication (NFC) contactless payment technology that Apple Pay uses in iPhones so users can easily tap and pay in stores.
The Statement of Objections said Apple restricts competition in the mobile-wallets market, according to The Wall Street Journal. The objections further state Apple blocks developers from using the technology to benefit its own Apple Pay solution, the only one with full access.
According to the EC, that’s illegal under EU competition rules. Here’s part of the statement:
Our concerns relate to Apple’s decision to block access to the NFC technology for payment purposes and use it solely for its own mobile wallet, Apple Pay. As a result, users of Apple devices can only pay with the ‘tap and go’ function using Apple Pay and not with other wallets. This is because competing wallet developpers need access to the NFC on Apple devices to reach Apple users.
Developing a mobile payment application is costly. Investment may only be worth it if developers can reach both Apple and Android customers. Evidence on our file indicates that some developers did not go ahead with their plans as they were not able to to reach iPhone users. This behaviour stifled innovation and prevented competition in the mobile wallet market. As a result, European consumers have little choice of mobile payment solutions when paying in shops.
With the Statement of objections now issued to Apple in writing, a fuller investigation will continue. Apple will be given time to reply to the objections, as well.
If the final investigation agrees with the initial objections, Apple could face fines of up to 10% of its global turnover.
Apple has not commented publicly on Monday’s EU statement.
Today we have send @Apple a statement of objections. We are concerned that @Apple may have illegally distorted competition in the market for mobile wallets on @Apple devices. Now @Apple can answer our concerns.
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) May 2, 2022