- Consumers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple.
- Apple is accused of limiting crypto payments in various ways.
- The plaintiffs also raised concerns about excessive fees.
California-based multinational technology company Apple has made headlines over its controversial “feature competition” agreements within peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps.
On November 17, unhappy customers filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of abusing its market power to limit P2P payment options on its iOS-powered devices and restrict crypto technology in specific payment applications.
Apple’s Domineering Control Hinders Crypto Payments
In a 58-page complaint filed by four consumers at the California federal court, Apple is accused of leveraging technological and contractual restraints to exert unfettered control over every app installed and running on its iPhones and iPads.
The plaintiffs argue that in exercising this level of control, Apple has managed to thwart feature and price competition by forcing new iOS P2P payment apps to bar decentralized cryptocurrency technology as a condition for entry into the App Store.
“Decentralized payments would allow iPhone users to send payments to each other without any intermediary at all—and with transaction costs far lower than what Venmo, Cash App, and Apple ultimately charge to move money to and from bank accounts and credit cards. Despite the obvious utility, there is no means to make decentralized payments on the iPhone.” The plaintiffs submitted.
Notably, the plaintiffs alleged that Apple signed non-competitive agreements with each of its horizontal competitors in the iOS P2P payment market, including PayPal’s Venmo, Google’s Google Pay, and Block’s Cash App, to bar the integration of crypto technology within their new or existing applications on App Store.
According to the plaintiffs, in addition to suppressing direct competition for its Apple Pay mobile wallet with these restraints, Apple’s antitrust policy has culminated in arbitrary enforcement of fees.
Seeking to Recoup Excessive Fees and Overcharging
The plaintiffs stated that they are everyday customers who have been forced to pay “rapidly inflating prices” as Apple strives to kill feature competition alongside the price competition that would flow with it.
Consequently, the November 17 lawsuit seeks to recover for excessive fees and overcharging. The plaintiffs also sought an injunction that could compel Apple to segregate or divest its Apple Cash operations.
While it’s up to the court to determine Apple’s culpability as alleged in the lawsuit, the company has made headlines before for its feature competition agreements and other ambiguous policies toward crypto.
Besides recently pulling down Damus from its App Store over Bitcoin payments, Apple’s imposition of a 30% tax on all in-app purchases, including NFT sales forced Axie Infinity to deploy a lite-version of its strategy-based game on the App Store.
Read how MetaMask briefly exited the Apple App Store:
MetaMask Reappears on Apple App Store After Brief Exit
Stay updated on how Apple initially threatened the Damus app over Bitcoin tipping feature:
Apple Threatens to Pull Damus App Over Bitcoin Payments