The European Commission appreciates that Apple distorts competition in the European Union with regard to electronic payments through digital wallets. The Executive’s technicians have reached the preliminary conclusion that the electronic giant “prevents the developers of electronic wallets from accessing the hardware and software necessary for the benefit of its own application, Apple Pay,” explains the department headed by the vice president of the Margaret Vestager Commission. “As a result, European consumers have few options,” explained the also Commissioner for Competition.
Brussels opened the investigation into the apple company in June 2020. And after almost two years of investigation, it has detected that “Apple restricted third party access to the key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions,” said Vestager. “If confirmed, such conduct would be illegal under our competition rules,” he added. In this case, the company, which must now present its allegations, risks a fine that can reach up to 10% of its global turnover.
Despite the fact that this is the maximum amount contemplated by the norm, the commissioner herself has pointed out that she “is not going to speculate” with amounts and that it must be taken into account that it is “a very specific market”. She, too, has not wanted to point out how long her entire investigation will last until it reaches a definitive conclusion.
The European Commission has opened several conflicts with Apple and all of them are still open. The biggest, of course, is the claim to return 13,000 million euros in taxes for the tax agreements reached with Ireland. This fight only lacks one chapter, the appeal that Brussels presented against the decision of the General Court of the EU that annulled its demand.
But there are others that, as in the case of Apple Pay, enter the field of competition in the markets. One of them is the one that the department directed by Margrethe Vestager opened after Spotify’s complaint for abuse of a dominant position. “It has not been completed [las investigaciones] in other cases”, he pointed out on this subject.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.