Apple ends 4-year EU antitrust probe by giving rivals access to tap-and-go payments tech

London – In a significant development, European Union antitrust regulators have accepted commitments from tech giant Apple to grant access to its tap and go payments technology to competitors, effectively ending a four-year investigation. This decision follows concerns raised by the EU that Apple may have imposed illegal restrictions on competition in the mobile wallet market on iPhones. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, announced the acceptance of Apple’s commitments during a press conference, signaling a step towards fostering a more competitive market environment.

The EU initiated an antitrust investigation regarding Apple Pay in 2020, examining the terms and conditions set by Apple for integrating Apple Pay in apps and websites, as well as concerns related to tap and go technology and alleged refusals of access to Apple Pay. By 2022, the European Commission determined that Apple Pay’s dominance could stifle competition, particularly since it was the sole option for iPhone users. In response, Apple proposed various commitments to address these concerns, offering rivals access to its contactless payment and mobile wallet technology in January.

Vestager revealed that Apple’s commitments underwent market testing in January and February to gather feedback and assess their efficacy. Following this evaluation, the European Commission concluded that Apple’s final commitments effectively addressed concerns regarding the company’s restrictions on granting third-parties access to its tap and go payments technology, thereby making the changes legally binding on Apple. Despite these developments, Apple has not yet responded to requests for comment from media outlets.

This decision marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing efforts to regulate competition in the tech industry, particularly concerning the control of essential technologies like mobile payment systems. The EU’s acceptance of Apple’s commitments reflects a collaborative approach to addressing antitrust issues and promoting fair competition within the digital marketplace. As the tech landscape continues to evolve, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms play a crucial role in safeguarding consumer choice and innovation in the industry.