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EU claims Apple Pay restrictions and closed iOS ecosystem harm competition

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Apple faces the possibility of another fine after European Commission anti-trust regulators accused the company of blocking competitors from using its iOS mobile wallet technology.

The European Commission said on Monday it had sent a statement of objections to Apple, detailing its preliminary view that the company had abused its dominant position in favor of its own payment solution, Apple Pay, and therefore , had distorted competition.

The Statement of Objections as sent to Apple, however, does not indicate the outcome of the investigation.

European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager told a press conference that Apple’s anti-competitive practices date back to 2015, when Apple Pay was first launched.

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“Apple has built a closed ecosystem around its devices and operating system, iOS. And Apple controls the gates of that ecosystem, setting the playing field for anyone who wants to reach consumers using Apple devices,” Vestager said. .

“Mobile payments play an increasingly important role in our digital economy. It is important for the integration of European payment markets that consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payment landscape.”

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Vestager went on to say that the investigation into Apple will likely inform future applications of the law in digital markets.

“This will set a precedent for analyzing security issues and a recipe for efficient and proportionate access to NFC for mobile payments,” Vestager added.

The European Union agreed to the Digital Markets Act in March, with EU lawyers still finalizing how the laws will work.

Once completed, the details of the Digital Markets Act will be made public and forwarded to the EU Parliament and Council for approval. Once approved, the law will enter into force 20 days after its publication and its rules will apply six months after.

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The EU investigation follows several recent controversies involving Apple. In February this year, Apple’s attempt to resolve its dispute over dating apps with the Netherlands’ consumer watchdog failed, resulting in a 20 million euro fine.

While in March last year, the São Paulo state consumer rights foundation, Procon-SP, fined Apple 10.5 million reais ($1.9 million). for not selling power charger adapters with new smartphones.

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