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EU: Apple Pay may be stifling payments competition

 |  November 10, 2019

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said numerous grievances have been filed with the European Commission concerning Apple Pay and its negative effect on competition in the payments space, CNBC reported.

“We get many, many concerns when it comes to Apple Pay for pure competition reasons,” Vestager said on Thursday (Nov. 7) during a press conference at Web Summit 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. “People see that it becomes increasingly difficult to compete in the market for easy payments.”

The European Commission is also reviewing Apple’s response to an antitrust accusation filed by Spotify over Apple’s App Store terms.

Under Vestager, Europe has been a leader in the charge against Big Tech.

A formal antitrust probe into Amazon was launched in July concerning how the eCommerce giant functions as both a merchant and a marketplace. The commission is also “in the process of receiving information” about Facebook’s Marketplace, Vestager said.

“It is quite a substantial set of questions we’ve been asking about Marketplace and how that works,” she said, adding that Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency Libra is also being investigated.

“We have quite deep concerns about what would be the effect of Libra if ever launched,” she said.

Vestager is widely seen as a strict and meticulous enforcer who has taken on Big Tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon without fear, and has imposed harsh penalties on them, as well as taking them to task for perceived abuses of power.

She’s been at the head of a number of newsworthy events, including the investigation of Apple over Irish tax breaks, which discovered that the company avoided upwards of $14.5 billion in taxes.

She also brought three antitrust fines against Google. One was for $2.72 billion for abusing powers in its search engine, one was for $5 billion for taking advantage of Android’s market power, and one was for $1.69 billion for favoring itself in its ad network.

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