Technology

What's Up With Apple: EU Antitrust Charges, In-App Purchase Competitor, and More

The European Union (EU) reportedly is preparing a list of antitrust charges to level at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) as soon as next year. The EU’s executive body, the European Commission (EC), already has three cases pending against the company, and the EC’s executive vice president and competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is a formidable opponent.

According to an exclusive report from Reuters, the EC and the EU are taking aim specifically at the near-field communications (NFC) technology Apple uses for its Apple Pay mobile wallet. Early concerns included the terms and conditions for Apple Pay and Apple’s “refusal to allow rivals access to the payment system.” The EC has now focused its attention on the NFC chip that only Apple Pay can use, according to an unnamed Reuters source.

If Apple is found guilty of violating EU competition rules, it could be fined up to 10% of its global revenue. Based on 2020 revenue of $274 billion, that’s real money, even for the world’s largest company.

U.K.-based Paddle.com has announced the first alternative in-app payment system for iOS apps. In a Thursday morning announcement, the company said the system offers “all the same benefits of the App Store, without the hefty price tag, and with greater control over the user experience.”

App developers will still need to wait, however. Paddle.com’s in-app purchase system will not be available to developers until at least early December, or until last month’s ruling in the court case between Apple and Epic Games is fleshed out. In that decision, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers ruled that Apple will have to allow app developers to use payment systems other than Apple’s to pay for apps and in-app purchases. Exactly what Apple must do to comply with the ruling remains unclear. In any case, either Apple or Epic Games may, and likely will, appeal the ruling.

Paddle pricing for app downloads and in-app purchasing is far more favorable to developers than Apple’s. Apple charges between 15% and 30% for all transactions, while Paddle will charge 10% on transactions of less than $10 and 5% plus $0.50 on all transactions of $10 or more.

Apple announced on Wednesday that it will begin requiring app developers to offer people who download their app a way to delete the app from within the app. The requirement becomes effective on January 31, 2022. Developers are required only to give people a way to initiate the deletion, not complete it. That means you may have to go to a website or chat session before closing the account.

Apple also announced that App Store product pages generated by iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey will include a “Report a Problem” button so that users can more easily report concerns with content they have purchased or downloaded.