European Commission: Apple abuses power by restricting NFC on iPhones

The European Commission finds that Apple is abusing its power by limiting NFC on iPhones to its own payment service Apple Pay. As a result, Apple is limiting innovation in using the phone as a wallet, the Commission argues.

The European Commission has sent its findings to Apple, according to a message Monday. In it, the Commission explains the objections to keeping the NFC chip in iPhones closed. That chip has been in all iPhone models since 2015. NFC is also the most common way to pay with phones in shops in Europe, the Commission argues.

By limiting NFC to Apple Pay, Apple blocks competition and limits innovation in mobile payments. That is contrary to Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits the abuse of power.

The Commission’s move comes as no surprise. Last week it was announced that the charges were imminent. Apple now has the opportunity to defend itself or change its behavior. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to ten percent of the annual turnover. The fine in Apple’s case can be a maximum of $36.5 billion, because Apple’s annual revenue in fiscal 2021 was $365 billion. That would be by far the highest fine the European Commission has handed out to date.