EU Regulators Announce Major Concession from Apple on Mobile Wallet Technology

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In a significant development, the European Union has announced that Apple will allow rival companies to operate wallet technology on its iPhones free-of-charge for at least the next decade. This move marks a major concession from Apple, which had previously restricted access to its near-field communication (NFC) technology, sparking concerns of anti-competitive behavior.

The European Commission had warned Apple in 2022 that restricting access to its NFC technology constituted an abuse of market power. The dispute had been ongoing for two years, with Apple proposing changes to its payment technology in December. The latest agreement means that Apple will avoid billions of dollars in fines and a formal declaration that it has breached EU rules.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager welcomed the development, stating that it will “open up competition in this crucial sector, by preventing Apple from excluding other mobile wallets from the iPhone’s ecosystem.” Consumers in the EU, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, will now have access to a wider range of safe and innovative mobile wallets.

The changes will also enable developers in Europe to deploy NFC technology inside iOS apps for various uses, including car keys, corporate badges, hotel keys, and event tickets. Apple spokesperson Julien Trosdorf emphasized that Apple Pay and Apple Wallet will continue to be available in the European Economic Area (EEA) for users and developers.

This decision marks another significant change for Apple, which has faced intense scrutiny in the EU and new rules have forced the company to adapt. Apple will now have to allow alternative app stores onto iPhones and iPads, creating competition for the Apple App Store for the first time. The company will also have to offer “choice screens” when users buy a new Apple device, giving them an option to install Apple’s own-brand apps or third-party alternatives. Apple is also appealing a $2 billion fine related to its rules and restrictions on third-party developers building iOS apps.

Morgan Meaker
Morgan Meaker
Morgan Meaker is a senior writer covering Europe and European business from London. She won the top prize at the BSME Awards in 2023. Previously, her journalism was published by the BBC, the Financial Times, The Atlantic, Reuters, The Guardian, Politico, Deutsche Welle, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, and De Correspondent.

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