Apple claims early victory in skirmish with Australian banks

Apple claims early victory in skirmish with Australian banks

Australia's banks will have to sweat it out over their application for a collective bargaining agreement with Apple over NFC access to the consumer group's iPhones after the country's competition watchdog said that it needed more time to ponder the submissions made by the warring factions.

The banks - Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank - sought interim permission from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to engage in collective negotiation and boycott activities with Apple in relation to the Apple Pay platform and with other third party wallet providers in Australia.

Apple in return accused the banks of exhibiting cartel-like behaviour, stifling competition and creating undue security risks.

In its ruling, the watchdog states: “The ACCC has considered interim authorisation within a short timeframe at the request of the applicants. However, given the complexity of the issues and the limited time available, the ACCC has decided not to grant interim authorisation at this time. The ACCC requires more time to consult and consider the views of industry, consumers, and other interested parties,”

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says the body took into account the potential for continuing effects on competition in the market, the extent of urgency for the request, any possible harm to the applicants or other parties if interim authorisation is granted or denied, and possible public benefits and detriments.

“The entire ACCC authorisation process usually takes up to six months, including the release of a draft decision for consultation before making a final decision," he says. "We expect to release a draft decision in October 2016. The ACCC’s decision not to grant interim authorisation at this time is not indicative of whether or not a draft or final authorisation will be granted."

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