Briefing

EU conducting informal antitrust inquiry into Apple Pay

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The European Commission is investigating complaints that Apple bars most rivals from its payment app. The regulator sent out a questionnaire—a standard information-gathering step in advance of a formal inquiry—to online-payment providers, banks and app businesses, asking for feedback on the service. (Financial Times)

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Talking point: Apple prevents most rivals from accessing the iPhone’s near-field communication chip, a practice the firm has previously defended on the basis that it provides maximum security for sensitive banking data. Apple Pay is one of the largest players in the mobile-payment marketplace, an increasingly crowded space that’s seeing attention from traditional lenders. It’s a trend the European Commission is watching closely while it emerges as the world’s toughest digital regulator. Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has vowed broader, tougher enforcement of tech giants, including yesterday’s decision to force chipmaker Broadcom to halt allegedly anti-competitive behaviour before the commission finalizes its judgment of the firm. If the interim order holds up in court, the commission expects to use such measures against companies like Apple in future antitrust cases.