Commission accepts commitments by Apple opening access to ‘tap and go’ technology on iPhones

The European Commission has made commitments offered by Apple legally binding under EU antitrust rules. The commitments address the Commission’s competition concerns relating to Apple’s refusal to grant rivals access to a standard technology used for contactless payments with iPhones in stores (‘Near-Field-Communication (NFC)’ or ‘tap and go’).

The Commission preliminarily found that Apple has significant market power in the market for smart mobile devices and a dominant position on the in-store mobile wallet market on iOS. Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet that may access the NFC hardware and software (‘NFC input’) on iOS to make payments in stores, as Apple does not make it available to third-party mobile wallet developers. In its investigation, the Commission preliminarily concluded that Apple abused its dominant position by refusing to supply the NFC input on iOS to competing mobile wallet developers, while reserving such access only to Apple Pay.

To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Apple offered a number of commitments, including to allow third-party wallet providers access to the NFC input on iOS devices free of charge, without having to use Apple Pay or Apple Wallet. The Commission concluded that Apple’s commitments would address its competition concerns and therefore decided to make them legally binding on Apple. The commitments will remain in force for ten years and apply throughout the European Economic Area. Their implementation will be monitored by a monitoring trustee.