The European Commission has formally invited feedback from competitors and consumers on the concessions proposed by Apple in response to EU antitrust charges. If accepted, these concessions would potentially help Apple avoid a significant fine. This announcement comes in the wake of previous reports by Reuters, which had indicated that Apple was making efforts to address the charges levied against it.
As a part of the proposed commitments, valid for a period of ten years, Apple has offered third-party service providers access to its tap-and-go mobile payments systems, which are used for mobile wallets. The EU competition watchdog had previously accused Apple of impeding competitors’ access to its Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, thereby preventing the development of alternative services on Apple devices.
In response to these accusations, Apple has stated that it is willing to provide third-party developers in the European Economic Area (EEA) with the option to enable their users to make NFC contactless payments from within their iOS apps. This access extends to developers of payment, banking, and digital wallet apps within the EEA, allowing consumers to choose between using Apple’s service or another NFC-enabled application through their bank or card issuer for payments. Apple has also outlined additional commitments, including features such as defaulting to preferred payment apps and access to authentication features like FaceID.
Interested parties, including rivals and customers, have been given a one-month window from the summary’s publication to provide their feedback on these proposed commitments. Once approved, the implementation of these commitments will be overseen by a trustee reporting to the Commission.
Opinion on the topic is divided, with some industry experts welcoming Apple’s willingness to open up its tap-and-go mobile payments systems to third-party service providers, which could foster competition and innovation. However, others remain skeptical, questioning the potential impact of these concessions on the broader mobile payments market and the overall consumer experience.