Are we using digital technologies in the best way? Will Apple Pay lose the EU antitrust battle?
As the second half of the year kicks off, brands continue to ask themselves, are we using digital technologies in the best way and how can we trust everything we see?
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking and sharing thoughts in a room with C-Level individuals where the future of tech was being discussed.
Some heads of companies continue to believe they must keep everything in-house and that they have enough knowledge to scale their business even though they are stuck and don’t understand why.
Other heads of companies understand the saying “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go further, go together”
In essence: “Collaboration is key”
Bringing outside advisors or partners is not a threat. When used correctly, it is a move into expanding knowledge, and revenue and potentially creating a new spark into a business that might be plateauing.
You may think this does not apply if you have a billion-dollar-plus turnover but think again.
During my shares, for the topic of trust, I used the example of the recent European antitrust complaint against Apple Pay which was supported by Paypal (amongst other companies)
Apple has been a pioneer of technological innovation for over 4 decades, but it has not always been a smooth ride. Let’s say that when you become the first company to be worth $3 trillion USD, you may be under a much closer microscope.
The European Commission had announced the preliminary conclusion that the technology giant Apple abuses its dominant position with the electronic payment service Apple Pay, because the tech giant "restricts competition in the digital wallet market" on its mobile phones, and that this would be illegal under European law.
The crux of the controversy is the device that allows devices to communicate at short distances, known by its acronym in English NFC, and which is the basis for making payments from mobile phones.
On iPhone devices, however, only Apple Pay has access to the NFC chip, and a company that wants to develop an app for iPhones that uses NFC has to pay Apple a fee.
In addition, only banks associated with Apple can benefit from their mobile applications having access to the NFC chip, thus allowing payments to be made.
According to the European Commission, Apple does not allow or limit access to the NFC chip to benefit its own solution.
Thus, Apple Pay is the only alternative in the digital wallet segment that has access to the NFC mechanism on Apple devices or that uses the iOS operating system.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that Apple's dominant position in that market "restricts competition by reserving access to NFC technology to Apple Pay".
For this reason, Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner said, "the market is not developed because it is not possible for other applications to have access to NFC."
This investigation had begun in 2020 due to complaints from European banks that were reluctant to pay a fee to Apple so that their mobile banking applications work fully on the digital giant's phones.
The EU is waging a huge legal battle to regulate the operation of digital giants like Apple in the European space and make them comply with the bloc's regulations.
Meanwhile, Apple reacted by claiming that the priority of the payment service is the security of its users and communications between devices.
The company will continue to liaise with the European Commission "to ensure that European consumers have access to the payment option of their choice in a secure environment."
The Commission stressed that an investigation like this does not have a defined deadline to be completed.
In the event that Apple is found guilty, it will have to modify its practices in order to continue operating in Europe or face fines of up to 10% of its annual sales.
Let’s be honest, we know Europe is behind the US and Asia when it comes to tech. Europe leads in other sectors but not tech. Sometimes I feel the EU Commission wants to slow down growth outside of the EU, so the EU can catch up!
There was a great article by McKinsey addressing Europe’s corporate and technology gap. Read here
And why am I sharing this Apple Pay story? (Fair enough, so not everyone is Apple and has pretty much-unlimited funds for R&D and combat EU laws. But they also started at 0)
Because back in the day, when two young hackers started a tech business out of a bedroom, they also understood collaboration was key. They continued to innovate. Apple's current success is due in large part to its obsessive focus on the user experience.
Although they had very big losses at the beginning, they were able to turn it around by innovating and earning people’s trust.
The EU may question some of Apple’s decisions, but regardless of the tribulations, it has not stopped it from becoming the first trillion-dollar company.
To sum it up:
- Be open to more collaborations. Partner up with the right people
- If you feel your company is stuck, remember how Steve Jobs shook up Apple after losing millions of dollars. Try something new!
- Digital technologies can help create a more efficient, more productive, more inclusive, and better world.
-Trust in tech, don’t fear what is inevitable. Do not be left behind.
Let’s continue having conversations that spark action! Conversations that inspire you and motivate you to move forward.
Trust in Tech, Trust in You.
Author, Advisor, Storyteller
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