The Commission will recommend that Apple Pay be opened to third-party payment processors that is sure to raise some eyebrows over at Cupertino which has been adamant that its walled garden approach is ensuring a smooth and secure experience for its customers. According to the EU Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner: Apple has built a closed ecosystem around its devices and its operating system. Apple controls the gates to this ecosystem, setting the rules of the game for anyone who wants to reach consumers using Apple devices.
Apple’s exclusive control of the NFC contactless payment technology that Apple Pay utilises to authorise payments using the iPhone or the Apple Watch has been the subject of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission (EC). According to the Wall Street Journal, the EC preliminary opinion is accompanied by a lengthy statement of concerns asserting that Apple’s walled garden approach to mobile payments is restricting competition in the fintech business, particularly in its mobile wallet operations.
According to the WSJ, “once the new law comes into effect, so-called gatekeeper companies could face fines of up to 10% of their global annual revenue. Repeated infringements could raise the limit to 20% or lead to a ban on some acquisitions,” all the while the Silicon Valley giants are in hot water over in Europe over what the EC perceives as anti-competitive and monopolistic behaviour on numerous other fronts.
While that is certainly true, a similar thing can be said for other mobile wallets like Google Pay or Samsung Pay, although Google’s mobile payment solution works on multiple devices running Android. Apple commented that it will “continue to engage with the Commission to ensure European consumers have access to the payment option of their choice in a safe and secure environment.”