Apple Pay is anti-competitive, EU says in preliminary ruling

Apple has been confronted with an antitrust accusation by the European Union for excluding competitors from its mobile payment system Apple Pay. The EU has sent Apple a formal “statement of objections” with a preliminary view that Apple has abused its dominance in mobile wallets on iOS.

“The Commission is challenging Apple’s decision to prevent mobile wallet app developers from accessing the necessary hardware and software (“NFC input”) on their devices to use their own Apple Pay solution.” read the decision. “Today’s statement of objections only challenges access to NFC inputs by third-party developers of mobile wallets for in-store payments.”

According to the EU, Apple’s exclusionary behavior “results in less innovation and less choice for consumers in mobile wallets on iPhones”.

This is only the first, formal phase of the antitrust case against Apple, and the company has an opportunity to respond to the Commission’s list of objections. The EU notes that the sending of a statement of objections “does not prejudge the outcome of an inquiry”.

Today’s verdict follows allegations from last year that the company unfairly penalizes competing music streaming services. The EU has the power to fine up to 10 percent of Apple’s global sales ($36 billion) and force changes to the company’s business practices. In practice, however, any fines imposed on Apple’s likely appeal of the charges will be much less.

The Commission’s preliminary opinion against Apple shows once again that the EU is at the forefront of attempts to curb the power of big tech. In the past few weeks, the bloc has passed two major pieces of legislation aimed at countering the ill effects of digital giants. These are the Digital Services Act (DSA), which forces companies to tighten control of harmful content on their platforms; and the Digital Markets Act (DMA)designed to level the playing field for business, allowing smaller companies to compete with the largest corporations.

Apple has objected to a number of EU rules, particularly those relaxing the company’s grip on the App Store (from which Apple generates significant revenue). Apple Pay is anti-competitive, EU says in preliminary ruling

Fry Electronics Team

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