Disgruntled consumers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple alleging that the tech giant has conspired to limit peer-to-peer payment options on their devices and block cryptographic technology from iOS payment apps.
The Nov. 17 lawsuit filed in California District Court alleges that Apple entered into anticompetitive agreements with PayPal’s Venmo and Block’s Cash App to restrict the use of decentralized cryptocurrency technology in payment apps, causing users to will pay “rapidly inflating prices.”
“These agreements limit feature competition (and the price competition that would result from it) across the market, including prohibiting the incorporation of decentralized cryptocurrency technology within new or existing iOS peer-to-peer payment applications,” says the document.
The plaintiffs also claimed that Apple uses “technological and contractual restrictions,” including hardware-enforced App Store exclusivity and “contractual limitations on web browser technology” to “exercise unrestricted control over every application installed and run on iPhones and iPads”.
With these restrictions, Apple can, and does, force new iOS P2P payment apps to ban cryptocurrencies “as a condition of entry,” the lawsuit claims.
The plaintiffs describe themselves as customers who have paid inflated fees due to Apple’s business restrictions in the iOS P2P payments market.
They seek to recover excessive fees and overcharges due to Apple’s alleged anti-competitive conduct and injunctive relief that prevents the company from continuing to enter into and enforce anti-competitive agreements that restrict competitors and potential participants in the iOS P2P payments market.
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The 58-page class action lawsuit details the history and rise of peer-to-peer payment apps and decentralized cryptocurrencies and Apple’s entry into this market.
In April, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Apple violated California competition laws by not allowing apps to direct users to payment solutions not linked to Apple.
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