The apple brand is accused of obstructing free competition by Brussels, in particular on the issue of its use of the NFC chip.
As usual, Apple has to face accusations from Europe on the very particular way it has to manage access to its tools. This time, it is the NFC chip which is at the heart of the debates. Very practical for paying without contact or playing transport cards in certain cities, the latter is nevertheless the subject of an investigation. The Apple brand is accused of restricting certain features of its chip, with the aim of favoring its own services like Apple Pay.
The iPhone will have to open up to Navigo and dematerialized payment
Already last year, when the dematerialized transport card had arrived on smartphones, Apple had played the recalcitrant. The brand had indeed refused to offer the service, unless it found a financial agreement with Île-de-France Mobilités. Finally, the iPhone should be able to be used as a Navigo card in 2023.
Regarding contactless payments, the European Commission accuses Apple of having voluntarily carried out the partial blocking of the NFC chip of the iPhone, to reserve the latter for the single use of Apple Pay, its dematerialized payment service. A way for GAFAM to rule out the competition, and in particular Google Pay and Paylib.
After years of a legal battle started in 2019, the investigation into the anti-competitive practices of the Apple brand should find a legal response by next week. It is indeed at this time that the European Commission will officially present its charges. While the way in which Tim Cook’s company manages access to its NFC chip is obviously in the crosshairs – the latter potentially representing a violation of European competition rules – other subjects relating to free competition could also be addressed.
Remember that this is not the first time that the firm has found itself in the crosshairs of justice for anti-competitive practices. For several years now, Apple has been clashing with international regulators over its lack of openness to third-party services.