Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has finalized its initial ruling against the county’s banks, meaning they won’t be able to collectively bargain with Apple for access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities. The banks had lobbied for the ability to force Apple’s hand in the matter in the hopes of being allowed to make their own mobile pay wallet options available on the iPhone, but ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in the ruling that the commission wasn’t “satisfied, on balance, that the likely benefits from the proposed conduct outweigh the likely detriments. We are concerned that the proposed conduct is likely to reduce or distort competition in a number of markets.”
While the banks argued that allowing their mobile payment options on the iPhone would increase consumer choice and greater innovation in the digital payment space, Sims said mandating that Apple give up access to its NFC controller would “affect Apple’s current integrated hardware-software strategy for mobile payments and operating systems more generally, thereby impacting how Apple competes with Google.” While Apple has won the ability to control how the iPhone’s NFC capability is used, it’s still unclear how the judgment will affect negotiations with the banks to make Apple Pay more widely available within the country. Apple Pay has several partners in Australia, but the country’s four major banks have thus far boycotted the mobile payment system.