Apple will allow developers access to its NFC technology, avoiding an EU fine

The agreement will last for ten years and requires Apple reports to an independent moderator.

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After four years of back and forth, the European Union and Apple have finally come to an agreement on the latter's tap-and-go technology. The European Commission announced Apple made "legally binding" commitments to provide developers with their Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is used for tap-and-go technology, and access iOS features like Face ID authentication and double-click to launch. The agreement saves Apple from facing an antitrust fine equal to up to 10 percent of its worldwide annual turnover — about $40 billion.

Apple has also agreed to stipulations such as allowing users to make third-party wallets their default app. "It opens up competition in this crucial sector, by preventing Apple from excluding other mobile wallets from the iPhone's ecosystem," Margrethe Vestage, the EU's executive vice president in charge of competition policy, stated in the release. "From now on, competitors will be able to effectively compete with Apple Pay for mobile payments with the iPhone in shops. So consumers will have a wider range of safe and innovative mobile wallets to choose from." The commitments are binding for ten years, with an independent monitor ensuring Apple follows them across the European Economic Area (EEA).

The European Commission opened its investigation into Apple in 2020, alleging that Apple was restricting rival mobile wallet developers from accessing necessary technology. Two years later, the regulatory body issued a preliminary view that Apple "abused its dominant position."

Then, in early 2024, Apple finally offered to open up its NFC technology and report to an independent reviewer. The European Commission shared the terms publicly, encouraging Apple's rivals and other interested parties to give their opinion. The final agreement between the European Commission and Apple results from those consultations.

The tech giant could still be on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in a different case after the European Commission issued its preliminary view that Apple violated the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The new law went into effect in March, and the European Commission soon opened an investigation into whether Apple prevented developers from telling users that they could pay less for services elsewhere. Apple currently takes a 30 percent commission on any purchases made through the App Store. The European Commission has until March 2025 to make a final ruling in the case.