Antitrust Law Daily France competition agency seeks comment for fintech inquiry
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

France competition agency seeks comment for fintech inquiry

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

Impact of Apple Pay and Google Pay on payment sector in France under review.

France has opened a new front in its antitrust battle with tech giants Apple and Google. As part of its investigation into the competitive situation in the fintech sector, the French Autorite de la concurrence is seeking comment from stakeholders on the impact of the entry of major digital players Apple Pay and Google Pay in the industry.

In January, the agency identified the sector as an enforcement priority for 2020. At that time, it said that it would be conducting a study to be completed this year on the "digital revolution on the financial sector, through electronic financial services, fintech, blockchain technology and the emergence of digital giants in payment services."

Now, the agency has announced that it is seeking comments through June 19 as part of the study. More specifically, the agency is inviting comments on the competitive impact of new technologies in the financial services sector, particularly, payment activities. In its statement, the agency asks banking groups and others about the impact of mobile payment options from Apple Pay and Google Pay. It also is seeking comment on acquisitions in the fintech space as well as competitive risk and dysfunction.

Apple and Google have frequently been the target of France’s competition agency. Just last month, Google was ordered to pay news publishers and news agencies for the re-use of their content. The agency had found in an interim decision that Google’s practices were likely to constitute an abuse of a dominant position, harming the press sector. Google responded that it would no longer display the relevant content unless it had authorization to do so free of charge.

In March, the agency fined Apple and two of its wholesalers €1.1 billion (approximately U.S. $1.2 billion) for engaging in anticompetitive practices in distributing its products. Among other things, the agency accused Apple of resale price maintenance.

Comments should be emailed to: [email protected].

Companies: Apple Inc.; Google LLC

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