In recent times, Apple has changed some of its policies and has slowly opened up its walled garden. The change came after the company was hit by several antitrust lawsuits. iOS 14, for example, added support for assigning some third-party default apps, such as email. iOS 15, unexpectedly, allows Android and Windows users to use FaceTime. However, Apple still has anti-competitive policies, and the latest antitrust lawsuits target two of those policies: NFC restrictions and App Store payment rules.
NFC chip and Apple Pay trial
According to a Reuters report, Apple will soon face an EU antitrust lawsuit over its NFC chips and their restriction. Apple Pay is currently taking full advantage of NFC capabilities on iPhones and Apple Watches. However, competitors do not have access to the same privileges. The report states:
The European Commission has since focused on the only NFC chip, which is only accessible through Apple Pay, one of the sources said. The EU competition authority is currently preparing an indictment known as a statement of objections, which could be sent to Apple next year, one of the sources said. These documents generally set out practices considered anti-competitive by the regulator.
The Commission, which has three other cases against Apple, declined to comment. It can fine companies up to 10% of their global revenue for violating EU rules, which, based on Apple’s 2020 revenue, could reach $ 27.4 billion.
Apple maintains that its Apple Pay policies are for security and privacy reasons, but it has yet to comment on the matter.
App Store Payment Rules Lawsuit
Another report from Reuters Says Dutch Watchdog finds Apple’s App Store payment rules anti-competitive. Apple currently charges developers a 15-30% commission on purchases made through the App Store or their in-app purchase system (IAP). The Cupertino tech giant bans developers from implementing their own payment systems in apps published on the App Store. This restricts developers and forces them to resort to the relatively overpriced Apple IAP system.
The report shares laws that other governments have implemented that Apple must comply with:
The European Commission launched an investigation in 2020 alongside the Dutch investigation, but focused on whether app store rules favor Apple apps when there are competing products, such as Apple Music. compared to Spotify.
A U.S. judge last month ordered Apple to make it easier to promote alternative payment systems through apps. Plaintiff Epic Games, the creator of “Fortnite,” has appealed, saying the decision does not go far enough.
South Korea has enacted a law prohibiting app store operators from forcing developers to use their official payment systems. Apple and Google are due to answer this month on how they will comply.
In Japan, Apple settled an antitrust investigation by agreeing to allow certain music, video and e-book apps, including Netflix, to promote shopping options outside of their apps.
It remains to be seen how these lawsuits will be settled, but it looks like Apple is about to shake the water. Payment platforms have already started promoting their upcoming alternative IAP systems for iOS, following the recent court ruling in the Epic Games case against Apple.
Would you use Google Pay or similar services if Apple were forced to let developers take full advantage of the NFC chip? Let us know in the comments section below.