Apple is pressured by the EU to make yet another change to the iPhone

20 January, 2024 Apple

Apple is pressured by the EU to make yet another change to the iPhone


Two letters are making life difficult for Apple CEO Tim Cook these days. Those two letters? EU, as in the European Union. The EU's Common Charger law led Apple to replace the proprietary Lightning port with USB-C worldwide on the iPhone. The EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) also led Apple to announce that it would add Rich Communication Services (RCS) support to the iPhone sometime this year. This is also expected to be a global move by Apple.


The DMA also is forcing Apple to allow sideloading of third-party apps by iPhone users although this change will probably be limited to the 27 EU member countries. Apple had always disallowed users from sideloading apps to keep them from accidentally installing malware on their phones. In the EU, Apple will be turning over the responsibility to keep infected apps off of the iPhone to device owners themselves.


While that might be the right thing to do, those who aren't aware of things like malware and trojans (not those Trojans, but a malicious app that aims to attack the victim's phone by disguising itself like the mythical Trojan Horse) could end up having their financial accounts wiped or see the performance of their iPhone degraded. Again, sideloading will be limited to the 27 EU member countries.


The latest pressure from the EU has forced Apple to announce that it will open up the iPhone's on-device NFC technology to third-party payment platforms. This will allow third-party firms in the 27 EU countries to offer contactless payment for iPhone users becoming competition for Apple Pay.



This morning, Apple told The Wall Street Journal, "Through our ongoing discussions with the European Commission, we have offered commitments to provide third-party developers in the European Economic Area with an option that will enable their users to make NFC contactless payments from within their iOS apps, separate from Apple Pay and Apple Wallet."


Similar to its plans with sideloading, it is expected that Apple will allow third-party NFC contactless payment systems to gain iPhone support in the EU only. Apple's statement make it clear that the third-party mobile payment services will not be part of the Wallet app or Apple Pay.


Apple will have to allow access to the iPhone's on-device NFC tech for 10 years with a fine valued at 10% of the company's worldwide revenue hanging over its head if it fails to comply. In Apple's case, based on fiscal 2023 revenue, that would be a hefty $38.3 billion penalty.


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