Apple wins initial victory against Australian banks in Apple Pay fight

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a preliminary ruling against a group of Australian banks who wanted Apple to open up the iPhone’s NFC controller for use with their mobile payment systems. The banks had asked for the right to collectively bargain with Apple to negotiate for access to the iOS platform and for the ability to pass Apple Pay fees on to the service’s users, but in the draft determination, Chairman Rod Sims said, “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 are currently uncertain and may be limited.”
The banks have been boycotting Apple Pay over the fees Apple charges and filed a motion in July requesting the ability to collectively bargain with the company, claiming the company’s refusal to allow their mobile payment apps on the iPhone stifles competition. In its reply, Apple claimed it was the banks who were worried about competition, and that the boycott was “likely to harm consumers and slow the pace of innovation for mobile wallets in Australia.” Sims said the banks have enough avenues for competition—including the ability to offer their digital wallets on Android phones—to justify letting Apple maintain its hold over access the iPhone’s hardware. The ACCC views iOS as a major part of Apple’s product offering to consumers and any encroachment on it is seen as a slippery slope to distorting competition between mobile phone providers.The commission is still seeking drafts for and against the banks’ position before issuing its final decision. [via Apple Insider]

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