Swiss Competition Officials Decline to Investigate Apple Pay Antitrust Complaint for Now

NFC Times Exclusive – A few days ahead of the official launch of Apple Pay in Switzerland earlier this month, Swiss consumer protection group Konsumentenschutz SKS filed a complaint with the Swiss competition officials, contending that Apple’s policy of locking down the embedded chips in its NFC devices is “monopolistic” and is a violation of the country’s antitrust laws. The regulator, however, has declined to launch a formal investigation, deciding to continue to observe the market for now, NFC Times has learned.

That Swiss consumer group’s challenge to Apple’s tight control of its NFC technology was followed this week in Australia by a request filed by a group of four major banks to Australia’s competition and consumer commission, asking for permission to negotiate as a bloc to try to force Apple to open up its NFC devices to bank-owned wallets. The banks also want Apple to give them the option of charging pass-through fees to their customers to recover transaction fees they would pay if they participated in Apple Pay. Three of the big four banks in Australia, which are holding out from joining Apple Pay, are part of the group, which is trying to recruit other issuers. The group plans to boycott any individual negotiations with Apple, if given authorization to do so by regulators. 

The filing by the Australian banks argues that Apple has excessive market clout, necessitating the banks to join together to bargain from a position of greater strength.  But it does not accuse Apple of antitrust violations. 

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