This week, the European Commission demanded Apple to make way for its rivals in payment systems. It asked for the near-field communication (NFC) circuit in the iPhone used for Apple Pay to be extended to others. The alternative payment systems include Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and others.
Apple’s restriction of limiting it only to its payment system comes across as opposing to rules of competition, by the commission. On Monday, May 2, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager expressed concerns over the tech giant’s actions. Reportedly, she complained how Apple had ‘abused its dominant’ place by not enabling its rivals to access the NFC technology in its devices like the iPhones.
The commission also specified what the closed platform of Apple’s system has resulted in. They stated how some of the ‘developers did not go ahead with their plans’ to introduce mobile wallets on their platforms. This was because these systems could not reach users of Apple’s iPhones. Vestagern went on to say how Apple has unfairly protected its Apple Pay wallet from competition by keeping it out of the game. If proven, she said, this move would amount to misuse of a ‘dominant position,’ which is considered illegal under the commission’s rules and regulations.
“By excluding others from the game, Apple has unfairly shielded its Apple Pay wallet from competition.”
Previously, Apple Inc has claimed that enabling rival patent systems to gain access to the NFC technology in the iPhone devices would not be suitable. They stated that this was because it would be rather destructive to user friendliness, data protection, and privacy and security of the financial data of their users. If the tech giant can manage to prove that it locked NFC to Apple Pay only for security concerns, they could possibly manage to avoid punishment in this case.
On the other hand, if Apple Inc is found to be guilty, it could end up facing fines of up to 10% of its global revenues. Hence, based on its on revenue in 2021, which was $365 billion, the fine could possibly go up to $36.5 billion. Moreover, the European Union is additionally trying to pressurise Apple into opening its messaging platform iMessage, to other platforms as well. This could be one of the significant changes iMessage could face. This is as compared to numerous public and regulatory pushes it has experienced in the past for its closed nature.