On Monday, the European Commission (EC) issued a statement of objections against Apple restricting NFC payment capabilities exclusively to its Apple Pay service. According to the commission, the organization''s dominant position is unfair and is violating European Union (EU) competition laws. The decision comes after a probe last week examined the matter.
According to the commission''s executive vice president, some payment services had been forced to cancel plans for NFC payment functionality because they would not be able to reach iPhone users. Other payment services should have access to the same functionality as Apple Pay, according to the commission.
Apple Pay is easily the largest NFC-based mobile wallet on the market. The EC could determine that Apple reached that top position by prohibiting other apps on the internet from accessing Apple Pay, which would be an illegal exercise of a dominant position. In that case, Apple might be fined tens of billions.
Apple issued a statement stating that Apple Pay''s emphasis is on ease and security for consumers. The company claims that allowing third parties to use NFC payments would make iPhones less secure. Apple also claimed that it had not blocked other payment services from using NFC, but did not offer specifics.
"Apple Pay is designed to provide an intuitive and secure way for users to digitalize their existing payment cards, but also for banks and other financial institutions to offer contactless payments to their customers," said the spokesperson. "Apple Pay is only one of many platforms available to European consumers for payment, with equal access to NFC, while setting industry-leading standards for privacy and security."
Apple has a long line with European regulators. Recently, the Authority for Consumers and Markets forced Apple to allow Dutch dating apps to handle payments outside of Apple''s payment processor. The EU is also currently considering a measure that may force Apple to allow sideloading on its devices.