Published in Mobiles

EU will investigate Apple Pay if it becomes significant

by on11 December 2018

Not market dominant, so it escapes for now

EU regulators looked into Apple’s mobile payment service and found it was not market dominant, but they could review it again if they receive formal complaints, Europe’s antitrust chief said.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager also signalled that Google and Amazon would remain very much on her radar until the end of her mandate late next year.

Google has been fined a total of 6.8 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in the last 18 months for breaching EU rules.

Apple’s mobile payment service Apple Pay, launched in October 2014, is available in 10 EU countries including France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark.

Critics say that an NFC chip embedded in the Apple iPhone means that Apple Pay is automatically selected when an iPhone user pays for goods and services, barring rival payment methods. The Danish Competition Authority is investigating the issue, which was brought to its attention by the Danish Consumer Council.

Vestager, who has earned a reputation for taking a tough line against companies that breach EU rules and can impose fines of up to 10 percent of a company’s global turnover, said she did a preliminary review some time back.

“When we were looking at it ... (at) first glance, we couldn’t see Apple being dominant. That doesn’t exclude in the future that we will have a second look. But when we looked some time ago, we didn’t find ... the necessary (evidence) to start a case”, she said.

“Obviously if we had official complaints, we would take that seriously because the entire payment market is a vital payment market.”

Separately Vestager is reviewing whether Amazon is using merchants’ data illegally to make its brand products similar to retailers’. She said she had been inundated with data, the key to building a case against the US online retailer.

“Now we have received not piles, but mountains of data and for us, it is a priority to go through that, both from Amazon themselves but also coming in from some of the businesses that they host”, she said.

“For us, of course, it is important to get the starting point right because, if we open a case, to be able to proceed with some speed, well then, of course, we need to get some of the basics right and we are in the process of doing that.”

Vestager recently asked Google’s rivals if the internet search engine unfairly demotes local search competitors, raising the possibility of a fourth antitrust case against the company.

“Now we ask questions when it comes to local search. This means a lot to many people because you use your phone or your table, you are looking for a place to eat, opening hours, where to go, museums, doctors, all kinds of stuff, and therefore, of course, it is a significant area, an essential service”, she said.

“It could be (the fourth case against Google), but of course we start asking questions without prejudice.”

Last modified on 11 December 2018
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Read more about: