Apple is set to face fresh antitrust charges in Brussels next week over the way it restricts rivals from accessing its mobile payment system, as the EU sets up its latest challenge to the market power of the world’s most valuable company.
The tech giant will be accused of breaking EU law in the way it operates Apple Pay, a payments system that operates on hundreds of millions of iPhone devices, according to four people with direct knowledge of the matter. The $2.5tn company would receive heavy fines worth up to 10 percent of global turnover if the charges are upheld.
Investigators, led by the bloc’s powerful competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, will accuse Apple of unfairly blocking groups such as PayPal and leading banks from accessing its mobile wallet system.
The move signals how the EU has become the centre of a global regulatory crackdown against Big Tech, with groups such as Google and Facebook having regularly been in the crosshairs of antitrust authorities in recent years.
The case, which was opened in 2020, is one of many investigations opened in Brussels against Apple, which had not faced antitrust charges from the EU before last year. In two other cases, investigators are probing whether Apple is harming competition in the books and music streaming services within its App Store.
The charges expected to be announced next week relate to the NFC — or “near field communication” — technology that allows a user to pay by tapping their iPhone on a payments terminal. That personal device is linked to debit or credit cards through a mobile wallet.
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