If something was missing from those from Cupertino in Europe, it was that regulators also put their electronic payment system, Apple Pay, in the spotlight. One more problem, which is added to those already facing the company in Europe, both due to the Digital Markets Law, which could force the company to accept both payment systems and third-party stores on iOS, as well as an investigation that could result in charges to the company for monopolistic techniques carried out with Apple Music.
And yet, to the detriment of the company, it seems that Apple Pay could also be accused of restricting competition in the e-wallet market, according to the preliminary findings of an investigation being carried out by the European Commission. At this point, the body has sent its conclusions to Apple, waiting for the company to analyze them and proceed, if it considers it appropriate, the necessary allegations to defend Apple Pay from the accusations.
The problem with Apple Pay, according to the study by the European Commission, is directly related to the service, although it is true that it is actually more attributable to iOS, and that is due to restrictions imposed by Apple your payment service is the only one that can use the NFC technology of the terminal to make payments with it, an option vetoed for any other payment system and platform, which in other circumstances could offer payments through the iPhone’s touchless system.
For the European Commission, Apple uses this limitation to enforce the use of Apple Pay on its devices., without allowing its service to face the competition that other services could pose, to have access to the NFC connectivity of the iPhone. Something that, furthermore, occurs at a time when this type of payment system is gaining traction, partly due to the organic rate of adoption of the same by users, but also largely due to the increase in demand for touchless solutions as a result of the coronavirus.
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “We have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology needed to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple devices. In our Statement of Objections, we preliminarily find that Apple may have restricted competition, to the benefit of its own Apple Pay solution. If confirmed, such conduct would be illegal under our competition rules.”.
Although, evidently, Apple can defend itself, and surely it will, the truth is that no other payment service can use NF connectivityC, so Apple Pay has the exclusive in this regard. Thus, it seems unlikely that Apple will be able to put forward arguments that would convince the European Commission that it is wrong.