In recent days, Apple’s excessive power, smelling of monopoly, has eroded twice.
The first with the sentence – or rather with the rejection of two appeals – which put an end to the long-standing dispute between the Cupertino company and Epic Games. In summary, Apple will have to allow applications on the App Store to insert links to external payments.
The problem is that, while on the one hand Tim Cook’s company immediately changed its rules allowing developers this possibility, it did so by inserting many limitations (and above all by imposing a commission). This immediately caused Epic and other companies to rise up.
Then there is the issue of Apple Pay, where the effects of the European Digital Markets Act are starting to be felt. Let’s find out in what sense.
App Store divided in two?
Let’s start by saying that, a few days ago, the news was released that Apple should separate the European App Store from the US onemaking the first compliant with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which should come into force on March 7th.
And therefore allowing European users with iOS systems to download their applications also from third-party marketplaces other than Apple’s, or from the web.
Apple Pay, contactless payments also for third-party apps
We said that the effects of the DMA will also be felt on Apple Pay. Until now, the contactless payment system via NFT chip in the iOS system could only be used by Apple’s mobile payment app.
But now, closing a question that (as we will see) was opened even in 2020, the Cupertino company will also give third-party apps the opportunity to use the contactless system. This would essentially be the end of a monopoly.
The news was made public by Reuters, which received a note written by an Apple spokesperson. In which we read: “We are committed to providing third-party developers in the European Economic Area with an option that will allow their users to make NFC contactless payments from their iOS apps, separate from Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.”
The possible unlocking of contactless payments to third parties has obviously been welcomed by other mobile payment companies.
Danish company Vipps MobilePay commented: “If Apple keeps its promise, this will be a real game changer for mobile wallets.
We are extremely optimistic and positive about Apple’s proposed commitments, but we will save the real celebration for when we see Apple fulfill its commitments without obstacles and additional costs for developers.”
Against the monopolistic position of Apple Pay
The European Commission had accused Apple of restricting access to its mobile payment systems based on independent technology called Near-Field Communication (NFC). The block complicated the ability of competing companies to develop alternative payment options for iOS-based devices and compete with Apple Pay and Wallet apps.
But, as we were saying, Europe’s attention to the problem dates back to 2020.
2020 to today: how Europe has kept an eye on Apple Pay
In June 2020, the European Antitrust opened a double investigation into the App Store and Apple Payfor violation of the legislation prohibiting monopolistic practices and acts of unfair competition.
In May 2022, the preliminary opinion confirmed that Apple limits competition in the mobile wallet market on iOS by abusing its dominant position.
The EU Commission expressed itself as follows: “Apple enjoys considerable market power in the smart device sector and a dominant position in the markets for mobile wallets on iOS.
Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet solution that can access the necessary hardware and software (NFC input) on iOS to enable mobile payments in physical stores. Apple does not make it available to third-party developers.”
Apple, in response to the preliminary opinion, proposed a series of commitments that it will maintain for 10 years.
Among these, the free unlocking of the NFC functionality on iOS, which will allow users to use alternative solutions to Apple Wallet and Apple Pay, and the opening to all developers in the European Economic Area area and for all iOS users with Apple ID registered in it.
Furthermore, users will be able to set their favorite wallet as the default payment system. The company will guarantee access to NFC in a non-discriminatory way and will create an independent dispute resolution system for cases where Apple deems it right to deny access to NFC technology to the third party.