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For all of Silicon Valley’s technological dominance, the United States has lagged Europe for much of this century in advancements in mobile phone networks and payment systems.
Crystal-clear voice calling and contactless payments arrived on the continent long before their widespread availability in America. Chip and PIN credit cards had only arrived a decade after their adoption in Europe, while New York’s subway system had just moved in 2021 to express contactless payments at barriers with your phone.
I returned Monday from three weeks in the United States, where I was struck by how far I had come since my last visit five years ago. A Covid aversion to keyboards, combined with tech like Square and Apple Pay, meant there was contactless everywhere I went.
While it was useful to flash my phone at ticket gates rather than buy a MetroCard in New York, there was the irritation of swing-screen terminals in California coffee shops, where you were forced to add a tip 15%/20%/25% for the person who only put a muffin in a bag for you.
Convenience is wonderful though, and Apple aims to simplify the experience even further with a Tap to Pay option that will simply iPhone to iPhone and remove the need for a terminal.
With Big Tech now taking a big chunk of the payouts, Europe is alarmed by the new rise of the United States thanks to the efforts of a handful of companies.
On Monday, EU regulators accused Apple of breaching competition law by abusing its dominant position in mobile payments to limit rivals’ access to contactless technology.
He accused it of preventing competitors from accessing near-field communication (NFC) chips that enable contactless, while its own Apple Pay system took advantage of it. Margrethe Vestager, the committee’s executive vice-president responsible for competition policy, said Brussels had “indications that Apple has restricted third-party access to key technology needed to develop competing mobile wallet solutions on Apple devices“.
The survey findings added, “Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet solution that can access the necessary NFC input on iOS. Apple does not make it available to developers of third-party mobile wallet applications.
Apple denied this, saying: “Apple Pay is just one of many options available to European consumers to make payments, and has ensured equal access to NFC while setting industry-leading standards for privacy and security. security.”
The company is certainly at the forefront of the industry taking a big share of the market. Even if the EU wins and implements changes, Apple Pay will take a step back from contactless as it becomes the preferred payment method in the real world.
The Internet of (five) things
1. UK set to not crack down on Big Tech
The UK is set to suspend plans to empower a new tech regulator, in a blow to global efforts to rein in Big Tech. The government’s new legislative program is not expected to include a bill to provide a statutory basis for the Digital Markets Unit based within the Competition and Markets Authority. Without the legislation, he wouldn’t be able to set rules for major internet companies and impose fines on them for breaking those rules.
2. BoJo pressures SoftBank for London IPO
Britain’s prime minister has joined in a last-ditch effort to convince chip designer Arm to register in London. Boris Johnson and the London Stock Exchange have launched a charm offensive to persuade Arm’s Japanese owner SoftBank to rethink its strong preference for listing in New York. Arm is set to regain control of its renegade China joint venture, which has been an obstacle to an IPO.
3. Tech stocks are volatile after quarterly results
First-quarter revenue for Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Meta collectively rose nearly $38 billion from a year ago, an average gain of 13%. Still, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index came under pressure, posting its worst monthly decline since the 2008 financial crisis in April as investors repriced lofty valuations.
4. Alibaba and Xiaomi shares fall
Alibaba shares fell 9% on Tuesday following a report by Chinese state media that an individual nicknamed “Ma” had been arrested. They later recovered after the report was changed to say the individual was not Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma. Xiaomi shares fell sharply after Indian authorities charged the second global smartphone provider of making “illegal remittances” and seized about $730 million. Lex says India is just beginning to restrict Chinese tech groups.
5. Yuga Labs sells $285 million worth of virtual land
The creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club generated $285 million worth of crypto in “metavers” land sales over the weekend. Yuga Labs has apologized for the congestion caused by the frenzy of grabbing 55,000 virtual plots of land in the Otherside, its upcoming game.
Technical tools — Apple’s iDIY
iPhone owners now have an official way to personally extend the life of their handsets, with Apple launching its self-service repair store last week. The company has been under pressure for years to make its products easier to repair, and its new program provides manuals and more than 200 genuine Apple parts and tools in the store. The service is initially only available in the US, with plans to expand to Europe later this year. Repairs are covered for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lines and iPhone SE (third generation), including the screen, battery, and camera. Apple will send $49 tool rental kits to customers who need them, with free shipping. Manuals, parts and tools for performing repairs on Mac computers with Apple chips will follow.
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