The European Commission announced this Monday (2) the preliminary conclusion that the American group Apple abuses its dominant position with the electronic payment service Apple Pay, a mechanism imposed on the owners of its smartphones.
The Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), stressed that the tech giant “restricts competition in the digital payments market” on its mobile phones and that this would be illegal under European competition rules.
Margrethe Vestager, European Competition Commissioner, said in Brussels that Apple “restricts access to essential technology needed to develop rival e-wallet solutions” on Apple devices to third parties.
“Our preliminary conclusion is that Apple appears to have restricted competition in favor of its own solution, Apple Pay.”
According to the European Commission, Apple does not allow or limit access to the parameter technology used in contactless electronic payments (known by the acronym NFC) on mobile devices, to benefit its own solution.
In this way, Apple Pay is the only alternative in the segment of digital wallets that have access to the NFC mechanism on Apple devices or that use the iOS operating system.
For this reason, the Commission concluded that Apple’s dominant position in this market “restricts competition by reserving access to NFC technology to Apple Pay”.
Any company that wants to develop an application for Apple devices that uses the NFC mechanism is obliged to pay a sum to the company.
“The market is not developed because it is not possible for other applications to have access to NFC,” said Vestager.
The EU is fighting a huge legal battle to regulate the operation of digital giants like Apple in the European space and make them conform to the rules of the bloc.
Apple is also the subject of investigations for its music streaming system and e-books.