Apple hit by EU antitrust indictment over mobile payments technology

BRUSSELS – Apple faces a hefty fine and may have to open up its mobile payments system to rivals after EU antitrust regulators accused the iPhone maker of restricting rivals’ access to its technology used for wallets mobiles.

This is the second EU charge against Apple after EU regulators last year accused the company of distorting competition in the music streaming market following a complaint from Spotify. .

The European Commission said on Monday it had sent Apple an indictment known as a Statement of Objections, detailing how the company abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices.

The Commission said Apple’s anti-competitive practices dated back to 2015 when it launched Apple Pay.

“We have indications that Apple has restricted third-party access to key technology needed to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple devices,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe said. Vestager, in a statement.

“In our statement of objections, we found beforehand that Apple may have restricted competition, to the benefit of its own Apple Pay solution,” she said.

Apple, which could face a fine of up to 10% of its global revenue or $36.6 billion based on its revenue last year, though EU sanctions reach rarely the cap, said she would continue to engage with the Commission.

“Apple Pay is just one of many options available to European consumers to make payments, and has ensured equal access to NFC while setting industry-leading standards for privacy and security,” said the company said in a statement.

Frankfurt-listed Apple shares fell 0.7% at 12:16 GMT.

Apple Pay is used by more than 2,500 banks in Europe and more than 250 fintechs and challenger banks. The NFC chip enables tap-and-go payments on iPhone and iPad.

Vestager rejected the company’s security argument.

“Our investigation to date has not uncovered any evidence indicating such a high security risk. On the contrary, the evidence in our filing indicates that Apple’s conduct cannot be justified by security concerns,” he said. she said at a press conference.

Apple can request a closed hearing to make its case and also send a written response before the Commission makes a decision, which could take a year or more.

The EU is set to implement new tech rules called the Digital Markets Act next year that will force Apple to open up its closed ecosystem or face fines of up to 10% of its revenue. global business.

The Commission’s decision to send its Statement of Objections to Apple confirmed a Reuters report in October last year.

By Foo Yun Chee

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