The European Commission isn’t happy with Apple’s monopolistic views regarding its mobile payment platform “Apple Pay.” The European Commission argues that Apple shouldn’t lock the NFC chip inside iPhones to work exclusively with its mobile payment platform.
The Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Apple over its practices regarding Apple Pay earlier today. It argued that “Apple restricts competition in the mobile wallets market on iOS” and explained that the European Commission takes issue with Apple’s M.O.
“Mobile payments play a rapidly growing role in our digital economy. It is important for the integration of European Payments markets that consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payments landscape,” said Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.
Apple’s restrictions affect every other mobile payment platform holder. They have led to Google Pay having limited functionality on the iOS platform and lacking support for NFC payments.
According to preliminary findings by the European Union, Apple may have restricted the NFC chip (and therefore the competition) to the benefits of Apple Pay. If these findings turn out to be correct, the European Commission will deem these practices illegal and may issue one of the highest fines in its history.
Apple now has a choice of making its own case and fighting back against these accusations or complying. But if the European Commission finds Apple’s exclusive use of NFC technology in iPhones illegal, it may issue a (maximum) fine equal to 10% of Apple’s annual turnover. That 10% would translate into the highest fine to ever be issued by the European Commission, i.e., roughly $36.5 billion.
Samsung Pay is also exclusive to Galaxy devices and isn’t available on Apple’s platform for obvious reasons. But unlike Apple, Samsung has opened the NFC chip inside its Galaxy phones to allow customers to use other payment platforms.
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