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Apple's Mobile Payment Service May Be Investigated If There are Formal Complaints, EU's Vestager Says

Apple's Tim Cook
image : Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said in an interview with Reuters this Monday that the EU may investigate Apple Pay if they receive formal complaints even after looking into the mobile payment service and finding it's not market dominant.

Vestager also suggested also suggested that Amazon and Google would remain very much on the EU's radar until the end of her tenure late next year. “When we were looking at it ... (at) first glance, we couldn’t see Apple being dominant. That doesn’t exclude in the future that we will have a second look. But when we looked some time ago, we didn’t find ... the necessary (evidence) to start a case,” Vestager said in the interview.

Danish Politician and European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager

image : Radikale Venstre on Flickr

Apple Pay is currently available in 10 EU countries - Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Poland and the U.K. among 32 countries globally. Critics contend that a Near-field communication chip embedded in the iPhone means that Apple Pay is automatically chosen when iPhone users make transactions, posing a block to rival services. Denmark's Competition Authority is currently investigating this issue brought to its attention by the country's Consumer Council.

“Obviously if we had official complaints, we would take that seriously because the entire payment market is a very important payment market.” Vestager said. The European Commissioner for Competition since 2014 is also evaluating if Amazon makes use of sellers' data illegally to create brand products similar to theirs. 

Apple Pay using Student ID

image : Apple

“Now we have received not piles, but mountains of data and for us it is a priority to go through that, both from Amazon themselves but also coming in from some of the businesses that they actually host,” she said.

Amazon is also facing a just recent complaint from the Austrian Retail Association over its dual role as both an online retailer and a marketplace which they contend can lead to undercutting of prices due to access to information on other retailers' products.


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