EU antitrust regulators intend to charge Apple with anti-competitive practices over the NFC chip in the iPhone and Apple Pay service. According to a Reuters report, the charges are being finalized and could be sent to Apple as early as next year.
The European Commission first opened an investigation into Apple Pay and the NFC chip in the iPhone last year. At the time the Commission said the investigation would focus on whether Apple was unfairly blocking competing contactless payment services by restricting the use of the NFC chip in the iPhone.
Today's report says EU antitrust regulators are going to accuse Apple of "anti-competitive practices related to its NFC chip technology." While the details are unclear, the charges "could force" Apple to "open up its mobile payment system to competitors."
While Apple has been gradually opening up access to NFC in iPhones over the years, third-party integrations are much harder to come by compared to Apple Pay's integration into iOS. For example, when an iPhone gets close to an NFC reader, the Wallet and Apply Pay interface is immediately displayed, which is impossible for third-party developers to do.
Earlier this year, EU antitrust regulators said the App Store violated antitrust laws, particularly with regard to streaming music services. The antitrust authority has also raised concerns about Siri, saying the EU has received complaints from more than 200 companies about certain exclusivity and tying practices related to the voice assistant. However, no formal charges have yet been made.