The European Commission has demanded that the near-field communication (NFC) circuit in the iPhone, currently used for Apple Pay only, be opened up to alternative payment systems such as Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
The commission sees Apple’s restriction as contrary to competition rules. On May 2, 2022, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager complained that Apple has “abused its dominant position” by not allowing rivals to access the NFC technology in its devices, the Guardian reports.
According to the commission, as a result of Apple’s closed platform “some developers did not go ahead with their plans [to create mobile wallets] as they were not able to reach iPhone users.”
Vestagern added: “By excluding others from the game, Apple has unfairly shielded its Apple Pay wallet from competition. If proven, this behaviour would amount to abuse of a dominant position, which is illegal under our rules.”
Apple has previously claimed that allowing rival patent systems to have access to the NFC technology in the iPhone would be detrimental to user-friendliness, data protection and the security of users’ financial information. If it can prove that it locked NFC to Apple Pay only for security reasons there is a possibility that the company will avoid punishment.
However, if Apple is found guilty then it could face fines of up to 10% of its global revenues, which based on the $365bn revenue in 2021 could be as much as $36.5bn.
The EU is also trying to force Apple to open iMessage to other platforms. Read more: New EU rules could force Apple to open iMessage.
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