Apple has been equipping its iPhones with NFC technology for years. But the Cupertino company being a follower of closed systems, access to this technology on its smartphones is very limited for developers of third-party applications, particularly with regard to payment services.
EU wants to force Apple to open up iPhone payment technologies to other developers
And that could cause problems for the firm in Europe. Indeed, according to an article published by the Financial Times, which cites sources familiar with the matter, Apple would soon face antitrust charges by Brussels next week, because of these limitations concerning NFT technology.
Investigators allegedly accuse Apple of unfairly blocking companies like PayPal and banks from its mobile payment system. The firm could be fined up to 10% of its turnover.
The case was opened in 2020, when the European Commission announced an investigation into Apple’s mobile payment practices.
This had been opened at a time when mobile payment systems and contactless payment were gaining ground in the world. “This growth is accelerated by the coronavirus crisis, with the proliferation of online payments and contactless payments in stores”Vestager had also explained.
During its preliminary investigation, the European Commission observed that Apple’s conditions regarding the integration of Apple Pay on sites and apps could harm competition. As mentioned above, it had also noted, in 2020, the fact that only Apple Pay can access the NFC “tap and go” functionality of iOS.
As usual, caution is in order pending formalization. But if the European Commission announces new charges against Apple next week, it will increase the pressure the EU is putting on the US tech giants and in particular Apple.
European Union: a number of regulations in the works
As a reminder, the EU is currently working on a number of new regulations, such as the Digital Services Act or the Digital Market Act. The latter could force Apple to draw a line under the closed system of iOS, by authorizing sideloading (which consists of installing applications without going through the official store).
And as far as hardware is concerned, the European Union also plans to set up a regulation which will impose a universal technology for charging electronic devices. Concretely, if this project is adopted, Apple would be forced to abandon its proprietary Lightning technology and adopt USB-Clike everyone else, for charging and transferring data on the iPhone.