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Technology giant Apple Inc. faces a class action lawsuit filed by Venmo and Cash App users for allegedly abusing its market power to curb competition for mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, leading to inflated fees.
According to a November 17 complaint filed in a California District Court, technology giant Apple is sued by Venmo and Cash App users for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive conduct in the iOS P2P payments market.
Apple Reportedly Engaged in Anti-Competitive Behaviour
Reuters reports that four consumers in New York, Hawaii, South Carolina and Georgia have accused Apple of abusing its power in the iOS P2P payments market, causing customers to pay “rapidly inflating prices.” In the lawsuit, customers allege Apple violated US anti-trust laws through its agreements with PayPal’s Venmo and Block’s Cash App. According to the filing, Apple entered into anti-competitive agreements with Venmo and Cash App to restrict the use of decentralised crypto technology in payment apps.
The filing states:
“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.”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim Apple uses “technological and contractual restraints” and “contractual limitations on web browser technology” to “exercise unfettered control over every app installed and run on iPhones and iPads.”
In its alleged misconduct, Apple, Venmo and Cash App “have repeatedly raised prices for transactions and services with no competitive check.”
The plaintiffs allege that in its restraints, Apple forced new iOS payment apps to prohibit crypto “as a condition for entry.”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs seek an injunction that could force Apple to divest or segregate its Apple Cash business.
Apple previously excluded Bitcoin wallet app Damus, from its App Store.
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