Apple Wins Legal Battle in Australia, Makes Access To NFC By Others Unlikely

by Tim Sloane 0

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has denied banks the opportunity to collectively bargain with Apple over Apple Pay. This win suggests Apple intends to keep NFC locked up for the long haul:

“The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has denied authorisation to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay.

The ruling ends a long-running and often acrimonious battle between some of the nation’s biggest bank and Apple over access to the Near-Field Communication (NFC) controller in iPhones. In taking their claim to the ACCC, the banks sought to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers in competition with Apple’s digital wallet, without using Apple Pay.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says: “While the ACCC accepts that the opportunity for the banks to collectively negotiate and boycott would place them in a better bargaining position with Apple, the benefits would be outweighed by detriments.”

These would include a significant distortion in competition between Apple and Google for market share, a negative impact on Apple’s business model and strategy, and a market which is in its infancy with a range of alternatives to Apple Pay in development.

“Finally, Apple Wallet and other multi-issuer digital wallets could increase competition between the banks by making it easier for consumers to switch between card providers and limiting any ‘lock in’ effect bank digital wallets may cause,” Sims adds.”

Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group

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