back to article Banking group denied access to iPhones' NFC chips for alt.Apple.Pay

The four Australian banks that wanted to start their own mobile payments service using the near-field communications chips inside iPhones have been rebuffed, partly because Apple said that even if a ruling went against it the company would not have allowed them access to the chippery. The Australian Competition and Consumer …

  1. Fazal Majid

    Apple's refusal to cooperate can't have been a critical factor—they could only stall, but not block it if they did not prevail in the appeals process, and regulators have limited tolerance for scofflaws.

    The deciding factor is clearly that the regulators see mobile wallets as competition for the entrenched banks, and allowing them to coopt the former would reduce competition, quite rightly in my view. The situation might be different if others asked for this, e.g. telcos.

    1. as2003

      If the decision (and subsequent appeal) had gone against them, I wonder if Apple would have just ceased iPhone sales in Australia rather than re-architect their security model and hardware. It looks like very roughly 3% of iPhone sales happen in Australia.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        They wouldn't need to stop selling the iPhone, they'd just cancel ApplePay in Oz.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The article said they can fine for noncompliance, so Apple would just pay the fines (and probably raise the price of iPhones sold in Australia a few bucks to pay for it)

      There's nothing said about them having the power to ban Apple Pay in Australia over this. But yeah, if they did have that power, Apple would shut down Apple Pay there. They aren't about to let a country dictate the features they provide, or they'd have a host of 'demands' coming from opportunistic governments seeking laws requiring them to support a second SIM, offer user replaceable batteries and front glass, replace Lightning with USB, send a copy of all iMessages from their citizens to the government, and who knows what other brain damage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        With the EU looking at mandating repairability they may yet have the user replaceable battery imposed upon them. They only recently avoided the mandatory USB connector if memory serves me correctly.

  2. Natalie Gritpants Silver badge

    So, is Apple the plucky underdog now?

    1. Richard Jones 1

      @ Natalie Gritpants

      No it is not and on all levels, it is just another spoilt brat.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In Australia, versus a coalition of major Australian banks, yes they are.

  3. ratfox
    Unhappy

    And this is why we can't have nice things

    It's taken decades to create standards allowing all systems to interoperate, and now the biggest limiting factor is that each company wants to create a walled garden.

    I envision a future where the world will be divided not into countries, but into customers of different mega-corporations, who won't be able to interact with each other for the obstacles separating them.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: And this is why we can't have nice things

      I can see the next Romeo and Juliet separated not by their families, but their smartphones...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @LDS, Re: Romeo & Juliet...

        J: Romeo, oh Romeo, wherefor art Thou?

        R, screaming into his phone: Can you hear me NOW?

        Smarmy TV announcer: And this is why you should switch to T-Mobil. We don't suck like Verizon.

        *Cough*

    2. ozobken

      Re: And this is why we can't have nice things

      Except that ApplePay is fully interoperable with Australian "PayPass" standards already, so there is no walled garden at play.

      Of course, you can stick an NFC token to anything, but that NFC token doesn't secure access via the phone's fingerprint reader. Having had credit cards stolen before, and had them used for many just-below-floor-limit transactions, I really appreciate the ApplePay - need your fingerprint, or at least your passcode to pay approach.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And this is why we can't have nice things

      This is about the banks being greedy and not wanting to pay the 0.15% Apple collects on Apple Pay transactions (it comes out of the bank's percentage)

      Which is fine, its their choice, don't support Apple Pay if you don't like it. But don't whine to the government like a spoiled child and claim you are fighting for the little guy. They don't like someone else collecting a tiny piece of the action, they believe it is rightfully all theirs! These bankers would happily screw the little guy if it meant getting an extra dollar on their year end bonus.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NFC sticker

    Doesn't sound secure to me. One of Android Pay key features is it generates a new card number for every tap and pay transaction, meaning even if it is intercepted, it's dead as soon as the card processing company have used it to charge your real number.

    NFC stickers don't have this valuable security feature (but it seems neither does Apple pay)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NFC sticker

      > NFC stickers don't have this valuable security feature (but it seems neither does Apple pay)

      Wrong! Apple Pay does and from day one - a whole year before Android Pay came out. from: http://www.apple.com/apple-pay/

      "When you make a purchase, Apple Pay uses a device-specific number and unique transaction code. So your card number is never stored on your device or our servers, and when you pay, your card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants."

  5. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Does this mean Apple now officially sees themselves above the law?

  6. gnasher729 Silver badge

    The article is actually inaccurate in one important point: The court decision was not about whether Apple has to give banks access to NFC, the court decision was about whether the banks are allowed to negotiate as a cartel.

    So what Apple said wasn't that it wouldn't give access if ordered by the court to give access. What Apple said was it wouldn't give access to the banks, even if the court allowed the banks to negotiate as a cartel. The court might have been able to order Apple to negotiate with a cartel, but the court couldn't order Apple not to say "no" to any demands by that cartel.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      And as another commenter noted, the courts have no power to do so. Push came to shove, Apple could just pull out altogether. If the playground is too hostile, just don't play in it.

      1. Paul 25

        Or just pay the ine

        From the article it sounds like Apple were simply prepared to pay the fine. If there are fixed level fines then this is almost certainly something that Apple could suck up.

        It's a bit like Amazon's decision to not implement Mastercard Securecode or verified by Visa. I believe they pay a "fine" of sorts for not using it but have decided that not completely fucking up their checkout process with a poorly thought out UX car-crash is totally worth the cash.

  7. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Banks and who else could get access?

    Problem is if Apple gives banks access to NFC, others with not such noble intents could also get access. A case of Apple protecting the consumer again?

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