European Union Anti-Trust To Charge Apple

( Tech giant Apple is expected to be hit with an antitrust charge in the European Union over its use of NFC (near field communication) chip technology. The report from Reuters cites people familiar with the matter and reveals that Apple could be all set to face a pretty substantial fine.

It could also see Apple being forced to open up its iPhone payment system to rival payment companies.

In June of last year, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager began investigating potential anti-competitive behavior relating to Apple’s NFC chip. The system allows iPhone users to make payments by tapping their iPhone on merchants’ payment stations. The investigation focuses on the system utilized by the iPhone to make the payments, as well as the terms and conditions of how the mobile payment service apple pay works on websites and apps.

Originally, the European Commission – which is the executive branch of the European Union – was much more broad in its focus. Now, though, the Commission is focusing on the NFC chip itself, which can only be accessed by Apple’s official payment processor.

A “statement of objections” is now being prepared by the European Commission, which is better described as a charge sheet. Once complete, and sources cited by Reuters suggest that it may be ready by next year, it will be sent to Apple. It will outline the practices by Apple that are considered to be anti-competitive and will likely compel Apple to make changes.

It could mean that in the European Union, Apple’s iPhones will be forced to open up to competing payment services like Google Pay and Android Pay.

Apple argues that only allowing native Apple services on its iPhone, including only allowing users to download apps from its official app store, is a security feature designed to protect iPhone users.

What do you think? Is it a security measure or just another example of Apple’s anti-competitive policies?