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Apple is trying to avoid a possible EU fine of $39 billion

Company executives will meet with European antitrust regulators to negotiate a settlement
Hold up, let him (Tim) cook. Apple CEO shows off Apple Pay innovations.
Hold up, let him (Tim) cook. Apple CEO shows off Apple Pay innovations.
Photo: Julian Sullivan (Getty Images)
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Executives from Apple will meet with EU antitrust regulators on Tuesday (Feb 14) in a closed-door meeting to discuss the market dominance of Apple Pay, the iOS mobile wallet feature, according to Reuters.

The company based in Cupertino, California, will seek to convince senior European Commission officials that it does not block rival companies from utilizing its technology for mobile wallet access on the popular iOS mobile operating system.

The commission initially charged Apple in May, accusing it of using its market dominance to stifle competition since Apple Pay was launched in 2015. “We have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices,” EU commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager said in a statement at the time.

The Feb. 14 meeting is considered the last chance for Apple to reach a settlement with regulators before going to trial. If found guilty, the company could face a fine of up to 10% of its global turnover, or approximately $39.4 billion.

After the initial charges last spring, an Apple spokesperson denied any wrongdoing, saying, according to Politico, “Apple Pay is only one of many options available to European consumers for making payments, and has ensured equal access to NFC while setting industry-leading standards for privacy and security.”

It is the latest in a series of global antitrust investigations targeting Apple’s market dominance, including another ongoing inquiry by EU regulators that was spurred by a complaint by music-streaming rival Spotify. The complaint alleges Apple used its control over the App Store on iOS devices to prioritize its own products, such as Apple Music, and put artificial obstacles on apps developed by rival companies.

Apple Pay’s domestic dominance

The popularity of mobile wallets, by the numbers

1.35 billion: Number of mobile wallet users globally

4.8 billion: Number of global mobile wallet users expected by 2025

316: Number of mobile wallet services worldwide

$7.5 trillion: Total value of mobile wallet transactions in 2022

$12 trillion: Total expected value of mobile wallet transactions in 2026

60%: Share of consumers in Asia Pacific who use mobile wallets, higher than any other region globally in 2021

72%: Share of all China-based payments made with mobile wallets such as Alipay and WeChat pay in 2021

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