EXCLUSIVE-Apple to face EU antitrust charge over NFC chip – sources

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Band Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, October 6 (Reuters)Apple AAPL.O will face an EU antitrust charge over its NFC chip technology, people familiar with the matter have said, a move that exposes it to a possible hefty fine and could force it to open its mobile payment system to his rivals.

The iPhone maker has been in the sights of European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager since June last year when she launched an investigation into Apple Pay.

Preliminary concerns were Apple’s NFC chip that enables tap-and-go payments on iPhones, its terms and conditions on how the Apple Pay mobile payment service should be used in merchant apps and websites, and the company’s refusal to allow its competitors to access the payment system. .

The European Commission has since focused on the only NFC chip, which is only accessible through Apple Pay, one of the sources said.

The European competition authority is currently preparing an indictment known as a statement of objections, which could be sent to Apple next year, one of the sources said. These documents generally set out practices considered anti-competitive by the regulator.

The Commission declined to comment. Apple, which cited privacy and security concerns for its Apple Pay policy, was not immediately available for comment.

NFC-enabled payments have grown in popularity in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple Pay’s broad reach and superior customer experience on a mobile website or in-store give it a competitive edge over its competition, some analysts say.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey)

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