Apple will let third-party mobile wallet and payment providers access the iPhone’s NFC capabilities in concessions meant to address a European Commission antitrust investigation, the regulator announced today. The Commission is now seeking feedback on the commitments, which would end Apple Pay and Apple Wallet’s exclusive access to the iPhone’s NFC payment features. It’s the latest development in the nearly four year-old investigation.
The proposed commitments come a little over one and a half years after the Commission formally accused Apple of using its iOS policies to restrict competition in the mobile payments market in violation of EU law. “The Commission takes issue with the decision by Apple to prevent mobile wallets app developers, from accessing the necessary hardware and software (‘NFC input’) on its devices, to the benefit of its own solution, Apple Pay,” the regulator said at the time.
“We have offered commitments to provide third-party developers in the European Economic Area with an option that will enable their users to make NFC contactless payments from within their iOS apps, separate from Apple Pay and Apple Wallet”
“Through our ongoing discussions with the European Commission, we have offered commitments to provide third-party developers in the European Economic Area with an option that will enable their users to make NFC contactless payments from within their iOS apps, separate from Apple Pay and Apple Wallet,” Apple told the Wall Street Journal in a statement.
There’s no mention of the commitments applying to iPhone users or third-party wallet developers outside of the EU, but the Commission’s press release does say that Apple’s proposals would allow someone with an Apple ID registered in the European Economic Area to make NFC payments using third-party apps outside of the bloc.
The proposed commitments would be in place for 10 years, and could be punished with a fine of up to 10 percent of Apple’s worldwide annual turnover if it doesn’t honor them.