Apple Inc. faces a class-action lawsuit brought forth by dissatisfied customers. The complaint’s core lies in the allegation that Apple has deliberately limited peer-to-peer (P2P) payment options on its devices. The company also obstructed the integration of cryptocurrency technology in iOS payment applications.
The Apple Lawsuit’s Genesis and Allegations
The lawsuit was filed on November 17 in a California District Court and accused Apple of engaging in anti-competitive practices. Specifically, it alleges that Apple has entered into exclusionary agreements with prominent payment services like PayPal’s Venmo and Block’s Cash App. These agreements, the plaintiffs assert, are designed to restrict the use of decentralized cryptocurrency technology in payment applications available on iOS devices. As a result, consumers are purportedly facing inflated prices.
The lawsuit delves into the mechanics of these limitations. It argues that such agreements hinder feature competition and impede market competition. That includes preventing the integration of decentralized cryptocurrency technology within new or existing iOS P2P payment apps.
Another crucial aspect of the lawsuit is the claim that Apple employs both technological and contractual measures to maintain control over the apps run on its devices. That includes enforcing hardware-based exclusivity for its App Store and imposing contractual limitations on web browser technology. According to the plaintiffs, such measures enable Apple to exert unwavering control over every application installed and operated on iPhones and iPads.
Impact on New Market Entrants
This control extends to new iOS P2P payment applications as well. The lawsuit claims that Apple forces these new entrants to exclude cryptocurrency functionality as a condition for market entry.
The plaintiffs, identifying as customers, assert they have been subjected to inflated fees due to Apple’s restrictive trade practices in the iOS P2P payment market. They seek compensation for Apple’s alleged anti-competitive behavior and excessive fees and overcharges. Additionally, they are calling for injunctive relief to prevent Apple from continuing to enter into and enforce these anti-competitive agreements.
The 58-page filing offers an extensive overview of the evolution and growing popularity of peer-to-peer payment apps, decentralized cryptocurrencies, and Apple’s role in this market.