Apple Pay, the physical card and cash replacement mobile wallet on iPhones, may not be available in Malaysia, but that doesn’t mean it’s not widespread elsewhere. In Europe for instance, 49 countries and territories support Apple Pay. However, its use may be at risk as the European Commission—the governing body of the European Union—has come to a preliminary view that Apple is abusing its dominant position in the market for mobile wallets on iOS devices.
The European Commission in particular highlights that Apple is allegedly limiting access to NFC, deemed a standard technology used for contactless payments via smartphones. They note that Apple currently has a significant market share for smartphones in the region, and also has a dominant position for mobile wallets. This is due to Apply Pay being the only mobile wallet solution that Apple allows to use the necessary NFC input for tap and go payments. As such, Apple’s behaviour is considered an anticompetitive move as they are essentially restricting competition for mobile wallets on iOS devices.
“We have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices. 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 a conduct would be illegal under our competition rules,” – Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission
Specifically, the European Commission finds Apple potentially infringing Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits the abuse of a dominant position within the European market. The European Commission has thus sent a Statement of Objections to Apple taking issue with their restrictions on access to the iPhone’s NFC input for third-party developers. This marks the first formal step by the European Commission in an investigation into Apple’s alleged violation of the EU’s antitrust laws.
For Malaysians, this case could also be relevant to you in light of the new Enhanced Touch n’ Go cards that have NFC support built into it. While iPhone users can still reload the card via the app now, the TnG app on iOS only supports QR payment, not NFC payments via the TnG eWallet on iPhone. If the Touch n’ Go allows iPhones to top up your NFC card, it should also make sense that you can just pay using your TnG eWallet via NFC tap and go. However, due to the way Apple locks down use of the NFC technology on the iPhone, you’re still limited to just the QR code payment method.
As for the EU’s case against Apple, it’s just the latest in a series of ongoing battles between Apple and the European Union. The European Commission has long been against Apple’s ‘walled garden’ closed ecosystem approach, and have been pushing for them to allow users to sideload apps onto their iPhones. Apple continues to resist this of course, citing security and privacy as reasons why they don’t allow this. On top of that, the EU is still trying to force Apple to drop the Lightning port, with the goal of making USB-C a unified common port among smartphones. Again, Apple is resisting this, claiming that such an approach will hurt innovation.
[ SOURCE ]