Russia’s FAS Suspects Apple of Violating Antitrust Rules

Russia’s FAS Suspects Apple of Violating Antitrust Rules
Photo: 04.04.2024 431

The antimonopoly agency has demanded that Apple provide information on the access of Russian payment systems to iOS.

The Federal Antimonopoly Srevice (FAS) of Russia found that Russian users of iOS devices, including those purchased during their official sales in Russia, are actually unable to use them for banking services and making payments.

Moreover, Apple has removed the mobile applications of most Russian banks from the App Store and and does not allow apps outside of the App Store to be installed on iOS devices.

"Apple needs to present a position on the access of Russian billing systems to contactless payments in the iOS," 

the FAS pointed out.

At the same time, NFC contactless payment technology in iOS is available only for Apple Pay, which makes it impossible to use contactless payment systems Mir Pay, Sber Pay, Tinkoff Pay and others on Apple devices.

"In the opinion of the FAS, the company's actions contain signs of violation of antimonopoly legislation," 

the agency said. The antitrust body pointed out that Apple was sent a letter requesting it to submit a detailed reasoned position on this issue to the FAS.

Blocking banking applications and limiting the ability of Russian NFC services to access iOS violate the rights of both consumers — users of iOS devices, and economic entities – banks and owners of NFC services, says Anton Maslov, an analyst of the BRICS Competition Centre.

"The position of the Russian antimonopoly regulator is quite reasonable and fair. If the FAS initiates a case against Apple and obliges it not to remove banking applications and allow to use alternative NFC services, it will have an extremely positive effect on consumers," 

the analyst says.

The FAS actions are in line with general international approaches to antitrust regulation, Maslov explains. In 2020, the European Commission (EC) initiated an investigation against Apple for restricting the use of alternative NFC services on iOS devices and favoring its own Apple Pay. 

In 2022, the EC concluded that Apple may have significant market power in the smart mobile devices market and dominate the market for mobile wallet tech on iOS.

Apple has recently proposed to the EC a set of commitments aimed at promoting competition, recalls an analyst of the BRICS Centre. 

In particular, the company plans to allow developers established in the European Economic Area and third-party mobile wallet apps developers to access iOS free of charge without having to use Apple Pay or Apple Wallet. In addition, Apple will not prevent the use of these apps for payments in stores outside the EEA.

digital markets  Russia 

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