Apple Pay gets under EU investigation

The European Commission is investigating whether tech giant Apple is guilty of abuse of power at its App Store. In particular, the mandatory use of Apple’s payment system in that software store is being examined. The European competition watchdog is also looking at payment service Apple Pay.

At the App Store, software providers must make payments through the Apple system. The tech giant then gets a share of that, usually 30 percent. Even if they sell subscriptions or, for example, offer the opportunity to purchase other items, such as e-books. In addition, Apple forbids to link from its own app to, for example, a website where the same subscription or the same shop can be purchased without the iPhone maker getting its share.

The European Commission is taking this step after complaints from a provider of e-books and audiobooks and a complaint from Spotify. That music streaming service complained that its subscriptions are now artificially expensive on Apple devices, while Apple has a competitive service with Apple Music. European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager wants to use the research to look at Apple’s role as a gatekeeper. “We need to make sure that Apple’s rules don’t harm competition, especially in markets where Apple competes with other developers.”

The European competition watchdog is also looking into whether Apple is breaking the rules at the Apple Pay payment service. It examines, among other things, the conditions that Apple sets for offering Apple Pay as a merchant or in an app, but also in physical stores. In addition, Apple would not give some companies access to its payment service at all, although the committee does not indicate which companies it would be.

In addition, the regulator is focusing on shielding the NFC chip in iPhones and other Apple devices. Apple Pay is the only payment service allowed to use those chips.

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