Investigation for Unfair Competition from the European Union to Apple Pay and App Store

The European Union has launched two new investigations to Apple. According to the statements made by the authorities, the subject of the investigation is App Store and Apple Pay. The European Union says the tech giant may be innocent about the App Store, but things are more complicated about Apple Pay.

Technology giants are undergoing various investigations from time to time due to competition violations by competent institutions. These investigations are usually done to protect the competition and if they are found guilty, companies are given very serious fines. Today, the European Union has announced that it has launched two serious investigations to the US-based technology giant Apple, and this investigation seems to be capable of causing Apple’s head pain.

Two different investigations launched by the European Union as of today include the App Store and Apple Pay services. The European Union, which has acted on the complaints received, emphasizes the possibility that Apple may create unfair competition. Although the officials say they think Apple will not do such a part of the investigation, they want to formalize this situation with an investigation.

Apple’s App Store probe agenda over complaints from Spotify and Rakuten

Margrethe Vestager, the head of the European Union’s investigation to Apple, states that there are various complaints about Apple and that they will consider these complaints. Vestager states that they will determine the company’s internal rules and how they approach other developers within the scope of this investigation. So, in what ways will Apple be subject to scrutiny in this investigation?

In the past, Spotify, the world’s most popular online music platform, has complained about Apple. According to Spotify, Apple was using the App Store to direct users to Apple Music rather than Spotify. A company called Rakuten also filed a Spotify-like complaint and announced that Apple cut 30 percent commission on books sold through the App Store. Both companies think that Apple caused unfair competition with these moves.

Apple Pay investigation results may be heavier

The second investigation launched by the European Union against Apple is related to the company’s payment system, Apple Pay. We can say that this investigation is a little more serious than the App Store. This is because the German government recently decided that the NFC feature on Apple’s smartwatch and phones should not be exclusive to Apple Pay. This situation came back as an investigation against Apple.

To take a deeper look at the Apple Pay investigation, Apple only provides full support for on-premises services for the NFC feature on iPhone and Apple Watch. In other words, third party financial institutions cannot actively use the NFC feature in Apple products. According to the German government, this should not happen and this violates EU law.

Vestager also spoke about the second investigation against Apple. Stating that mobile and contactless payment services have become widespread in the coronavirus pandemic process across Europe, Vestager states that Apple should not turn away from other contactless payment solutions in the market. In other words, the EU states that Apple may be not guilty of the App Store investigation but may not be so innocent about Apple Pay.

Apple’s statement on the subject

An Apple spokesperson made statements regarding the European Union’s investigation. The spokesman of the European Union, who said that it was annoying to launch such an investigation on complaints from several companies that did not want to play the game with the same rules, emphasizes that the allegations do not reflect the truth, but they will gladly convey their work within the scope of the investigation.

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