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EU's Vestager says Apple Pay has prompted many concerns

Credit: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE

Regulatory interest in iPhone maker Apple's mobile payment service was triggered by multiple expressions of concern, Europe's antitrust chief said on Thursday.

By Foo Yun Chee and Victoria Waldersee

LISBON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Regulatory interest in iPhone maker Apple's AAPL.O mobile payment service was triggered by multiple expressions of concern, Europe's antitrust chief said on Thursday.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager's comments came as she sought information from online sales companies on whether they had been told to use its mobile payment service instead of competing services, an EU document seen by Reuters showed.

In an interview with Reuters last year, Vestager said she might investigate Apple Pay if there were formal complaints.

"We've been asking quite a number of questions because we get many many concerns when it comes to Apple Pay for pure competition reasons," Vestager told a news briefing at Web Summit.

"People see it becomes increasingly difficult to compete in the market for easy payments," she said.

Launched in October 2014 and available in more than 50 countries worldwide, including more than 20 EU member states, Apple Pay marks the company's diversification from device sales.

Vestager, who retains the competition portfolio in the new Commission due to start work on Dec. 1, has gained a reputation as a tough enforcer especially against tech companies, handing out hefty fines and ordering them to change their business practices.

In the next Commission she will have an expanded mandate which could see her take on a more proactive role, including introducing legislation to tame tech giants who breach the EU's antitrust rules.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Victoria Waldersee Editing by Gareth Jones)

((foo.yunchee@thomsonreuters.com; +32 2 287 6844; Reuters Messaging: foo.yunchee.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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