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EU files antitrust complaint against Apple over mobile wallet tech

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EU files antitrust complaint against Apple over mobile wallet tech

The European Commission accused Apple on Monday of antitrust practices, over restricting competition for its Apple Pay mobile wallet. File Photo by stringer/UPI | License Photo

May 2 (UPI) — The European Union formally accused Apple of antitrust practices on Monday, over restricting competition for its Apple Pay mobile wallet, according to a release from the European Commission.

Apple “abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices,” the European Commission said in a statement.

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The commission accused the tech giant of restricting competition in the mobile wallet market by reserving access to near-field communication, commonly referred to as tap and go.

“This has an exclusionary effect on competitors and leads to less innovation and less choice for consumers for mobile wallets on iPhones,” the commission said in a statement.

The technology facilitates communication between mobile phones and in-store payment terminals. The NFC technology is standardized, available in almost all payment terminals and is widely seen as a safer, more secure and easier system for users to navigate.

“Mobile payments play a rapidly growing role in our digital economy. It is important for the integration of European Payments markets that consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payments landscape,” the European Commission’s Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“We have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices,” Vestager continued. “In our Statement of Objections, we preliminarily found that Apple may have restricted competition, to the benefit of its own solution Apple Pay. If confirmed, such conduct would be illegal under our competition rules.”

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If the accusations are proven, it would infringe on Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits the abuse of a dominant market position.

The commission points out that Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet solution with the ability to access the necessary NFC input on its iOS operating system. The company does not make the technology available to third-party app developers of mobile wallets.

The company now has the opportunity to respond to the list of objections.

There is no legal deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an end.

The accusations are separate from those made by the commission in June 2020, which are related to Apple allegedly refusing access to Apple Pay for specific rival products.

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