Regulators from the EU sent a charge sheet accusing Apple of restricting rivals’ access to its NFC chip technology, which allows the iPhone to interact with credit card kiosks. Apple could face a fine of up to $36.6 billion.
“We have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a press statement. “In our statement of objections, we preliminarily found that Apple may have restricted competition to the benefit of its own solution Apple Pay. If confirmed, such a conduct would be illegal under our competition rules.”
Apple said it would continue to cooperate with the European Commission. “Apple Pay is only one of many options available to European consumers for making payments and has ensured equal access to NFC while setting industry-leading standards for privacy and security,” the company said in a press statement.
Apple has been a frequent target of antitrust regulations by the EU since 2020. European regulators accused Apple of breaking antitrust law in April 2021 by using its App Store’s rules to restrict other music streaming apps.
Apple is also facing the risk of new regulations in the United States. Congress is considering the Open App Markets Act, which could significantly affect the company’s ability to operate online marketplaces for digital applications. The act caught the attention of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who expressed several concerns, including its effects on the company’s privacy standards.