New EU legislation set to force Apple to share access to NFC tech

nanoguy

Posts: 583   +8
Staff member
In brief: Apple has long been criticized for locking down NFC functionality and restricting it to Apple Pay, which is seen as an anticompetitive move that keeps competitors at bay. The EU is looking to introduce new legislation that will force the company into allowing alternative payment services to coexist with Apple Pay on its devices.

For years, we've heard that Apple may eventually expand NFC functionality on iPhone and Apple Watch beyond Apple Pay. That thought has yet to materialize, as is the dream of many payment processors to have the opportunity to compete with Apple Pay.

Last year, Germany set a precedent by passing a law that essentially forces Apple into exposing the NFC interface in its devices to rival payment services for a reasonable fee. More recently the European Commission has been drafting similar rules that would apply across 27 member countries and level the playing field.

According to a Bloomberg report, the new rules are expected to be unveiled alongside several other proposals next week, and are part of a broader digital policy strategy that will unfold in the coming years. The European Commission doesn't specifically mention Apple in the preliminary documents, but the company is being investigated for its potentially anti-competitive App Store and Apple Pay policies.

The Cupertino giant says it restricts access to NFC for security reasons, as well as to preserve the user friendliness that many of its customers love. However, the EU doesn't buy that argument, and for more than a year has been asking online retailers if they're contractually obligated to use Apple Pay.

The good news for Apple is that the EU will wait until 2022 before making any legislative changes to its current digital policy. Markus Ferber, who is a member of the European Parliament, believes the new rules are overdue and that tech companies offering financial services should see further scrutiny.

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Endymio

Posts: 587   +474
>> " ...a law that essentially forces Apple into exposing the NFC interface in its devices to rival payment services for a reasonable fee... "

When governments start defining which fees and prices are reasonable and which are not, it starts to go south fast.
 
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Evernessince

Posts: 5,407   +5,993
>> " ...a law that essentially forces Apple into exposing the NFC interface in its devices to rival payment services for a reasonable fee... "

When governments start defining which fees and prices are reasonable and which are not, it starts to go south fast.
You mean like utilities in the United States or price caps on medication in most of the civilized world? Yes, it would be a shame if things got in the way of unbridled capitalism. /s

 

Thanthan

Posts: 48   +97
>> " ...a law that essentially forces Apple into exposing the NFC interface in its devices to rival payment services for a reasonable fee... "

When governments start defining which fees and prices are reasonable and which are not, it starts to go south fast.
Its probably defined as an allowable degree of profitability on apples accounts, not an actual price. Its equivalent to the government saying "Any more than that, and well take it as exploiting your leading market position".
 

bviktor

Posts: 222   +419
This is both horrible and ridiculous at the same time. First off, they pushed this into an anti-money laundering bill in Germany, which Apple Pay has literally nothing to do with and clearly shows how little this is about the people's rights and how much about the banks' interests.

Second, if you force Apple to open NFC access to everyone, it's ridiculous to expect them to support *both* Apple Pay and make their own app for it too. Nope, they'll just make their own app and give Apple the middle finger. That's EXACTLY what we can observe with Google Pay here. Why would a bank support a standardized, bank-agnostic method for even a minuscule fee, if they can build their walled gardens for free?

This will benefit no one else but banks, at the expense of customers, as per usual. And they even have the nerve to applaud and call this nonsense "pro-competitive".
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,864   +1,755
I gotta say, I thought Apple opened up the NFC chip a few years ago. Real shame they're still being an arse about it for no reason, on Android I use NFC to connect speakers, unlock doors, pay for things, all sorts. I'm soo glad I moved away from Apple.
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,864   +1,755
That's EXACTLY what we can observe with Google Pay here. Why would a bank support a standardized, bank-agnostic method for even a minuscule fee, if they can build their walled gardens for free?
What are you on about? In the UK at least, pretty much all banks support Google Pay, even banks like Revolut that are solely an App support Google Pay...
 

Endymio

Posts: 587   +474
You mean like utilities in the United States or price caps on medication
Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Utilities are granted legal monopoly power in exchange for controls upon them. Are you advocating we grant Apple that? In any case, the fact remains that, in those cases where utilities have been broken up and the market deregulated, prices dropped like a stone.

As for pharmaceutical price caps, it works for other nations, as long as the US is subsidizing all those drug R&D costs -- they're getting a free ride. However, they still occasionally overplay their hand, and wind up denying their citizens the ability to buy the drug at all.
 

Endymio

Posts: 587   +474
Its probably defined as an allowable degree of profitability on apples accounts, not an actual price. Its equivalent to the government saying "Any more than that, and well take it as exploiting your leading market position".
That's the typical way it is done, yes. Unfortunately it breeds inefficiency, just as it does in utility markets, and consumers ultimately end up paying higher prices, and/or receiving inferior products.
 

PurpleYoda

Posts: 128   +87
Ok someone explain it to me please. Apple created a product and one could argue everything they do to “enrich” it by adding semi-regularly new features is making their product that more appealing to current and prospective future customers making them choose their product over their competitors. So far this is a standard practice and nothing out of the ordinary. There are a lot of companies who make products and offer accessories but due to proprietary solutions you can only buy those from the said company and there either are no alternatives or using an alternative will for example void warranty. So why is it suddenly OK that Apple us being forced to give access to its own solutions to others to effectively let them make money off their product? Why is it OK? At the end of the day if you don’t want to use their product for the lack of support of something there is plenty of alternatives? What am I missing?
 
You mean like utilities in the United States or price caps on medication in most of the civilized world? Yes, it would be a shame if things got in the way of unbridled capitalism. /s
>> " ...a law that essentially forces Apple into exposing the NFC interface in its devices to rival payment services for a reasonable fee... "

When governments start defining which fees and prices are reasonable and which are not, it starts to go south fast.
I can help you: How much does Apple pay for using the GSM technology? NFC is a variant of Bluetooth, invented by Ericsson (in Sweden). How much do they pay for using Bluetooth? And now, using/copying BT OBX transfer on - how much? The problem with US companies is that they expect payment is to them only, while everybody else seems to copy their huge effort in technology and research.
To state the obvious: Qualcomm and the FCC is used at home only. For all other communication, Apple, and Qualcomm amd Cisco all rely on technology invented not by them, and where the US has not contributed. The FCC has instead wasted US taxpayers funds to form Qualcomm to make an alternative technology. This alternative technology is a failure, the rest of the world won that bet. This is standards by the ITU. The FCC can meet and vote for the USA and stop funding US companies and US individuals. In all other parts of the world, it is not allowed for the state to subsidize industries.
So, it is time to pay, Apple.
 
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Ok someone explain it to me please. Apple created a product and one could argue everything they do to “enrich” it by adding semi-regularly new features is making their product that more appealing to current and prospective future customers making them choose their product over their competitors. So far this is a standard practice and nothing out of the ordinary. There are a lot of companies who make products and offer accessories but due to proprietary solutions you can only buy those from the said company and there either are no alternatives or using an alternative will for example void warranty. So why is it suddenly OK that Apple us being forced to give access to its own solutions to others to effectively let them make money off their product? Why is it OK? At the end of the day if you don’t want to use their product for the lack of support of something there is plenty of alternatives? What am I missing?
Apple has put a name on technology provided by others. Please allow those that invent things to get paid. The real innovator, the ones that make things first must be paid by US companies, they cannot just pick up things, paint it and call it something else and expect us to pay. In the mobile phone technology, you can consider it for granted that nothing has been invented in the US, except flashy names and pretty labels.
The actual inventor has to pay now for using what they invented. This is what the EU is contesting, - at least it should be free, and made availbel to everyone else.
 
This is both horrible and ridiculous at the same time. First off, they pushed this into an anti-money laundering bill in Germany, which Apple Pay has literally nothing to do with and clearly shows how little this is about the people's rights and how much about the banks' interests.

Second, if you force Apple to open NFC access to everyone, it's ridiculous to expect them to support *both* Apple Pay and make their own app for it too. Nope, they'll just make their own app and give Apple the middle finger. That's EXACTLY what we can observe with Google Pay here. Why would a bank support a standardized, bank-agnostic method for even a minuscule fee, if they can build their walled gardens for free?

This will benefit no one else but banks, at the expense of customers, as per usual. And they even have the nerve to applaud and call this nonsense "pro-competitive".
We had mobile payment developed and ready in 1994, but the US banks refused it, and developed their own plastic card industry and forced the banks to use this. Can we at least 35 years later be allowed to finally make a system that works without clearing in US banks? - every transaction is monitored by the big brother across the ocean, just to make certain they can charge you a fee.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 587   +474
I can help you: How much does Apple pay for using the GSM technology? NFC is a variant of Bluetooth, invented by Ericsson (in Sweden). How much do they pay for using Bluetooth?
I can help you. They pay the Bluetooth SIG (to whom Ericcson freely chose to license their patents to) a price that BSIG determines is reasonable. Not what the EU, nor the US government determines is reasonable. As a result, Bluetooth has been widely succesful. That's the free market at work. Implying that Apple somehow stole the technology is sadly misinformed.

The FCC can meet and vote for the USA and stop funding US companies and US individuals. In all other parts of the world, it is not allowed for the state to subsidize industries.
I'm surprised you didn't snap a finger typing this one out. Do you have any idea how many hundreds of billions China spends each year subsidizing industries? The EU isn't quite the offender China is, but even they do so far more than the US. As just one case in point, look at the enormous settlement the WTO awarded for EU's illegal subsides to Airbus, payments which were the primary reason Airbus managed to become a competitor to Boeing.
 
I'm surprised you didn't snap a finger typing this one out. Do you have any idea how many hundreds of billions China spends each year subsidizing industries? The EU isn't quite the offender China is, but even they do so far more than the US. As just one case in point, look at the enormous settlement the WTO awarded for EU's illegal subsides to Airbus, payments which were the primary reason Airbus managed to become a competitor to Boeing.
You fail to acknowledge that the USA has paid the FCC since 1992 to make things that counter-world standards, to allow the USA to develop its own competing technology. This includes forming Qualcomm, a private company, invest billions by the state in private companies like Broadcomm and Verizon, and Sprint. The EU has spent pennies on Airbus (Rolls Royce and Aerospatial) compared with this.
What the Chinese state uses to fund its technology can also be ignored. The villain when it comes to WTO trading violations is the USA. 40 years of state subsidies is by the USA: CDMA by the FCC and Qualcomm. If you have some skills in math and Queue Theory/Time Series you can calculate the performance of CDMA and find the US error. No need to use any law or WTO.
 

Endymio

Posts: 587   +474
You fail to acknowledge that the USA has paid the FCC since 1992 to make things that counter-world standards...this includes forming Qualcomm...
I fail to acknowledge it because it's a steaming load of donkey dung. The FCC didn't "form Qualcomm", nor does it mandate cell phone transmission standards. The EU does, which is why it (technically the EC at the time) formed the standards committee which created GSM. GSM is based on earlier work done at Bell Labs (a US firm) and its underlying TDMA encoding is inferior to CDMA. Because the FCC doesn't mandate standards, both CDMA and GSM were used in the United States. Because Europe does mandate standards, and required GSM in the region, CDMA was locked out of competing.

Even more ironic is that the CDMA standard was developed entirely by a private company, whereas GSM was developed by ETSI, a body which at the time was entirely funded by European-member governments.
 
I fail to acknowledge it because it's a steaming load of donkey dung. The FCC didn't "form Qualcomm", nor does it mandate cell phone transmission standards. The EU does, which is why it (technically the EC at the time) formed the standards committee which created GSM. GSM is based on earlier work done at Bell Labs (a US firm) and its underlying TDMA encoding is inferior to CDMA. Because the FCC doesn't mandate standards, both CDMA and GSM were used in the United States. Because Europe does mandate standards, and required GSM in the region, CDMA was locked out of competing.

Even more ironic is that the CDMA standard was developed entirely by a private company, whereas GSM was developed by ETSI, a body which at the time was entirely funded by European-member governments.
.. and since you seem to know some things, ETSI and ITU is the standardisation body that manages difficult things like how long a meter is and the weight, volume, and relate this to light and time: the units used in physics. The United States of America has developed its own ways, made companies that has used those ways, and has a vested interest in using gallons and pints to measure fluids. The rest of the world makes technology, like mobile phones. When a pint-slurping corporate entity discovers that by using other names, "cellphone" and here "NFC" they can charge a licensing fee.
CDMA is a multiplexing technology invented during WW2 by US intelligence service ("Private Company"?). It cannot warrant a finite delivery time for many users, but as long as there is just a few, it is better than e.g. TDMA. GSM is a group of technologies in the international community, and they have included CDMA in 4G because the US companies claimed it is good. This is one of many flavours for multiplexing the data part of the network - cannot be used to control anything, just the data. Bell Labs developed the signaling in ISDN, that the telecommunication standards were based on. Bell Labs declined to participate in developing the standard.
The company was later broken up by US monopoly regulators (split AT&T and Bell South). They participated in the development of CDMA with Verizon. The US regulator, FCC refused to work with ITU. A regulator is the body that determines how telecommunication is to be used in a country. That means making standards so companies can make money. No US company has submitted anything for others to use. Now they come up with names and deny others from using "their" name. Then say that "only Apple is allowed to use the name NFC". Using a name has value - to identify a way and common method. "Technology" is one thing and "Marketing" something else and it is a long time since "US patents," noticed the difference. Before posting, acknowledge that maybe someone else knows this better than you. The Chinese backbone runs with a capacity that is hundreds of times that of the US networks, Verizon and Sprint has been paid by US money. Most people in the USA have paid and should own shares according to taxes paid.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 587   +474
.. and since you seem to know some things, ETSI and ITU is the standardisation body that manages difficult things like how long a meter is and the weight, volume, and relate this to light and time,, the units used in physics.
No. ETSI's aegis is communication and broadcasting only. The ITU is a separate organization, and neither of them have anything to do with definition of SI units. That is handled by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

The United States of America has developed its own ways, made companies that has used those ways, and has a vested interest in using gallons and pints to measure fluids...
You do realize that the units of gallons and pints originated in Europe, right? And that we rarely measure cell-phone capabilities in those units?

...The rest of the world makes technology, like mobile phones. When a pint-slurping corporate entity discovers that by using other names, "cellphone" and here "NFC" they can charge a licensing fee....The Chinese backbone runs with a capacity that is hundreds of times that of the US networks, Verizon and Sprint has been paid by US money. Most people in the USA have paid and should own shares according to taxes paid.
Wow. After reading that, I feel as if I've ingested some psychoactive substance.