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In line with a report late last week, the European Commission today officially announced that it has issued a Statement of Objections to Apple over its restrictions that prevent third-party services from accessing the NFC capabilities of the iPhone, thereby restricting competition in mobile wallets on iOS.

Apple-Pay-Feature.jpg

The statement is a preliminary view that will need to be confirmed with further investigation before any consequences can be administered, but lays out the direction the investigation is headed.
The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. By limiting access to a standard technology used for contactless payments with mobile devices in stores (‘Near-Field Communication (NFC)' or ‘tap and go'), Apple restricts competition in the mobile wallets market on iOS.
European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager argues that access to NFC is a requirement for viable mobile wallet services at brick-and-mortar locations.
Our concerns relate to Apple's decision to block access to the NFC technology for payment purposes and use it solely for its own mobile wallet, Apple Pay. As a result, users of Apple devices can only pay with the ‘tap and go' function using Apple Pay and not with other wallets. This is because competing wallet developpers need access to the NFC on Apple devices to reach Apple users.

Developing a mobile payment application is costly. Investment may only be worth it if developers can reach both Apple and Android customers. Evidence on our file indicates that some developers did not go ahead with their plans as they were not able to to reach iPhone users. This behaviour stifled innovation and prevented competition in the mobile wallet market. As a result, European consumers have little choice of mobile payment solutions when paying in shops.
Vestager mentions that Apple has cited security as its rationale for not allowing third-party access to NFC, but that regulators' investigation have not found any evidence of that risk.

Article Link: EU Officially Objects to Apple Limiting Third-Party Access to Apple Pay NFC Capabilities
 

hcherry

macrumors regular
Mar 27, 2012
125
390
seems like Apple has been moving in the direction of opening this up, though not at the pace that some folks prefer.

Not a fan of using the force of law to make a company build a product to the specs that some prefer. This should just be a business decision
 

bookofxero

macrumors 6502
Dec 31, 2017
414
650
NFC is everywhere, and banks can have their card added to Apple Pay, right? And businesses that did not want to use Apple Pay because they wanted to charge higher fees or scrap purchase data created their own QR code-based payment systems, right? I ask because I am trying to figure out why the EU would admit that developing a mobile payment platform is costly, then make a ridiculous claim that companies would not create their own systems when history has show that it has not prevented issuers from either allowing Apple Pay as a processor (the same way my bank uses Visa, and only Visa, as a processor) or coming up with their own systems that utilize QR codes and other competing standards.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 603
Nov 4, 2008
5,716
6,982
seems like Apple has been moving in the direction of opening this up, though not at the pace that some folks prefer.

Not a fan of using the force of law to make a company build a product to the specs that some prefer. This should just be a business decision
Happens all the time. It should be a consideration.
 

singularity0993

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2020
157
761
Why do people defend Apple for this? Such restrictions severely limited iPhone’s capabilities. My friends are able to authenticate at the main gate simply by swiping their Android phones while iPhone users have to search for their card in their wallet every time. Popular payment systems in my country are also forced to use QR code instead of NFC because iPhones don’t have support (Apple Pay is available but nobody really uses it). As an iPhone user I’m frustrated by such software limitation and absolutely supports EU on this.
 

apoltix

macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2008
21
47
London
A thing I think is worth keeping in mind about this, which most people don't seem to know or care about, is that Apple does provide APIs to use NFC, but Apple has explicitly prevented payment-related communication (typically EMV) from working (source, "Core NFC doesn't support payment-related Application IDs."), ostensibly in the name of "security". All other forms of communication via the supported NFC protocols are allowed.

Apple don't necessarily need to accommodate third parties and improve the user experience when using their apps, but removing the restriction would at least remove the barrier for third parties to implement EMV, which seems to be what the EU has a problem with.

Whether or not only removing the restriction while keeping the remaining Core NFC limitations, such as no custom UI, no 3rd-party app auto-launch, etc. is a good idea from a consumer perspective, that is a different question.
 

contacos

macrumors 603
Nov 11, 2020
5,071
19,568
Mexico City living in Berlin
Apple has cited security as its rationale for not allowing third-party access to NFC

Apple either thinks we're all idiots, or that we're three-year-olds walking around in circles bumping into furniture.

I also find it kind of ballsy from Apple to claim that they are the only ones to understand security somehow ??‍♂️

Lets face it, anything is more secure than the waiter of American restaurants storming off with your credit card to pay. Every time that happens I am like wtf. Here in Germany, they are not even allowed to touch your card, not even to place it on the handheld for you. You have to do it yourself.
 
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singularity0993

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2020
157
761
A thing I think is worth keeping in mind about this, which most people don't seem to know or care about, is that Apple does provide APIs to use NFC, but Apple has explicitly prevented payment-related communication (typically EMV) from working (source, "Core NFC doesn't support payment-related Application IDs."), ostensibly in the name of "security". All other forms of communication via the supported NFC protocols are allowed.
Not true. Apple only provides API to read and write to specifically formatted NFC tags. Not only is the API incomplete, it also doesn’t support Host Card Emulation, which is required for your phone to act like a card (which is what Apple Pay is doing).

EDIT: To those who disagree, please find the API to read/write Mifare Classic tag with custom key, or the API to start HCE mode. If you manage to find such API I’ll gladly eat my words.
 
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apoltix

macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2008
21
47
London
Not true. Apple only provides API to read and write limitedly to specific NFC tags. Not only is the API incomplete, it also doesn’t support Host Card Emulation, which is required for your phone to act like a card (which is what Apple Pay is doing).
You may want to read up on the docs. iOS 13 has greatly expanded what can be done with Core NFC. In any case, Apple obviously has all of this implemented, including HCE, and just need to expose it to third party developers and not keep it to themselves.
 

Rychiar

macrumors 68030
May 16, 2006
2,698
5,872
Waterbury, CT
How about the same geniuses come to states and force Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Marianos and many other big box stores to also open up NFC and allow people to pay with such tech as apple pay etc.
Agreed! I’ve had to go to Home Depot and Walmart so much lately for yard work stuff and it’s annoying as hell to not be able to use Apple Pay like I do everywhere else
 

singularity0993

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2020
157
761
You may want to read up on the docs. iOS 13 has greatly expanded what can be done with Core NFC. In any case, Apple obviously has all of this implemented, including HCE, and just need to expose it to third party developers and not keep it to themselves.
Yes, I am aware of that. But you still can’t read/write custom tags or initiate HCE like on Android. I know there are private APIs but why mention because you can’t use them.
 

contacos

macrumors 603
Nov 11, 2020
5,071
19,568
Mexico City living in Berlin
Agreed! I’ve had to go to Home Depot and Walmart so much lately for yard work stuff and it’s annoying as hell to not be able to use Apple Pay like I do everywhere else

you can't use Apple Pay there? does that mean those big chains dont support credit cards since behind every Apple Pay transaction is basically just your visa / Mastercard? ApplePay automatically works anywhere, where there is a "Visa" logo here.
 
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ItsASpider

macrumors regular
Apr 20, 2021
118
847
I don't get how people still defend Apple with the same "but security" argument over and over again. Is Apple's system really that fragile that it faces major security risks at every turn where every other system on Earth does not? And how is "okay let's block it off entirely" always the only solution? How is that not suspicious? It's just anti-consumer and anti-competitive behavior.
 

apoltix

macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2008
21
47
London
But you still can’t read/write custom tags or initiate HCE like on Android.
You can read, and to some extent write, to "tags" supported by the NFC hardware (for example you can read from a biometric passport). It's not limited to just reading or writing NDEF-formatted Mifare ultralight tags. Getting the system to initiate HCE, like in Android, is what I mentioned about a the user experience not necessarily having to be better to appease the EU.

I know there are private APIs but why mention because you can’t use them.
Isn't that the whole point of this conversation though? That Apple has them, but has restricted it to themselves, in the name of security.
 

cmcbhi

Contributor
Nov 3, 2014
411
449
"Vestager mentions that Apple has cited security as its rationale for not allowing third-party access to NFC, but that regulators' investigation have not found any evidence of that risk."
Well. if you don't look for a security risk, you will not find it.
That said, the EU would not know a security risk if it bit them on the @zz.
 

cmcbhi

Contributor
Nov 3, 2014
411
449
I don't get how people still defend Apple with the same "but security" argument over and over again. Is Apple's system really that fragile that it faces major security risks at every turn where every other system on Earth does not? And how is "okay let's block it off entirely" always the only solution? How is that not suspicious? It's just anti-consumer and anti-competitive behavior.
Possibly you would be happier with an Android device. Happy worm/virus hunting.
 
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