The European Union (EU) is not pleased with Apple, again, and has hit the company with an antitrust accusation over the exclusion of rivals from the Apple Pay mobile payment system. Apple has been sent a formal “Statement of Objections” with the “preliminary view that Apple has abused its dominant position in mobile wallets on iOS”.
“The Commission takes issue with the decision by Apple to prevent mobile wallets app developers, from accessing the necessary hardware and software (‘NFC input’) on its devices, to the benefit of its own solution, Apple Pay. Today’s Statement of Objections takes issue only with the access to NFC input by third-party developers of mobile wallets for payments in stores,” the decision reads.
As The Verge points out, this is only the “initial, formal stage of antitrust proceedings against Apple” and the company will get a chance to respond to the Commission’s list of objections. The EU has also noted that sending a Statement of Objections “does not prejudge the outcome of an investigation”.
This is not the first ruling EU has hit Apple with. It follows accusations made last year regarding Apple unfairly penalising rival music services. EU has the “ability to levy fines up to 10 per cent of Apple’s global revenue ($36 billion) as well as force changes to the company’s business practices”. However, as it usually happens, any fines upheld against Apple’s likely appeal to the charges “will be much smaller”.
With the latest ruling the EU has shown once again that it is “leading the way in attempts to rein in the power of Big Tech”. The Commission recently passed two major legislative acts that are “intended to counter the negative effects of digital behemoths”. The DSA or the Digital Services Act will force companies to take “tighter control of harmful content on their platforms”, and the DMA or the Digital Markets Act that should “level the business playing field, allowing smaller companies to compete with the largest corporations”.
On its end, Apple has objected to a number of provisions that have been outlined by the Commission, “particulalry those that loosen the company’s grip over the App Store”.
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