Apple to face EU antitrust charges for blocking third-party apps with iPhone NFC payment technology

In short: Apple has dealt with many antitrust cases in its time, and now it has yet another to face. This week, Cupertino will be charged with violating EU law regarding how the company uses Apple Pay mobile payment system. If found guilty, the company could be fined 10% of its global turnover.

Financial Times writes that EU investigators led by Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will accuse Apple of blocking third-party service providers such as PayPal and leading banks from accessing its mobile wallet system.

The case, opened in 2020, specifically concerns Apple’s Near Field Communication (NFC) payment technology in the iPhone. The company supports seamless contactless payments exclusively for its Apple Pay service. This means that PayPal, Venmo, and banks cannot offer similar NFC experiences to iPhone users through their own apps. Apple says that giving them full access would violate the security and privacy of its users.

Apple is no stranger to antitrust allegations from the EU. There has been an investigation into charging third parties a 30 percent fee to list their apps on the App Store while promoting their own competing services in the marketplace. The Commission found Apple in violation of EU competition rules in April 2021.

Apple has also faced further European Union antitrust allegations related to an earlier investigation into how music streaming works and progresses within the Apple ecosystem. The investigation was launched following a complaint filed by Spotify in 2019.

The EU recently approved the Digital Markets Act, which obliges platform owners like Apple to allow people to download apps from third-party sources or download unpublished apps, a practice CEO Tim Cook has long opposed because of the risk it appears to , represents for users, and definitely not because it will cut the money that Apple makes in the App Store.

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