Apple is currently entangled in a class-action lawsuit as disgruntled consumers allege that the tech giant engaged in anti-competitive practices, hindering peer-to-peer payment options on its devices and blocking the integration of crypto technology in iOS payments apps.
The complaint, filed on November 17 in a California District Court, contends that Apple entered into anti-competitive agreements with PayPal’s Venmo and Block’s Cash App to limit the utilization of decentralized cryptocurrency technology in payment apps. This alleged collusion, the plaintiffs argue, resulted in users facing “rapidly inflating prices.”
The filing asserts, “These agreements limit feature competition—and the price competition that would flow from it—marketwide, including by barring the incorporation of decentralized cryptocurrency technology within existing or new iOS Peer-to-Peer Payment apps.”
According to the lawsuit, Apple employs “technological and contractual restraints,” such as hardware-enforced App Store exclusivity and “contractual limitations on web browser technology,” enabling the company to maintain “unfettered control over every app installed and run on iPhones and iPads.”
The suit claims that Apple leverages these restraints to compel new iOS P2P payment apps entering the market to exclude crypto “as a condition for entry.”
The plaintiffs, identifying themselves as customers who incurred inflated fees due to Apple’s alleged trade restraints across the iOS P2P payment market, seek compensation for excessive fees and overcharging. They also request injunctive relief to prevent Apple from entering into and enforcing anti-competitive agreements that restrict competitors and potential entrants in the iOS P2P Payment Market.
The comprehensive 58-page class action document traces the evolution of peer-to-peer payment apps and decentralized cryptocurrencies, highlighting Apple’s role in this market. Notably, in April, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Apple violated California’s competition laws by prohibiting apps from directing users to non-Apple linked payment solutions.