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Apple Prevails in Dismissal of Crypto-Payment Antitrust Lawsuit

 |  March 27, 2024

In a legal victory for tech giant Apple, a federal judge in San Francisco has dismissed a consumer lawsuit that accused the company of engaging in anticompetitive behavior by restricting cryptocurrency transactions on its platforms, thereby allegedly inflating fees for peer-to-peer payments through services like Venmo and Cash App.

US District Judge Vince Chhabria, in his ruling on Tuesday, labeled the proposed class action as “speculative” and pointed out several flaws, giving the plaintiffs a 21-day window to amend their complaint, as reported by Reuters. The lawsuit, filed in November 2023, had claimed that Apple’s policies regarding cryptocurrency technology within its App Store were detrimental to competition and resulted in increased fees for transactions on popular payment platforms.

The plaintiffs argued that Apple’s exclusion of certain Bitcoin wallet apps and its imposition of guidelines preventing developers from implementing cryptocurrency transactions constituted anticompetitive conduct. However, Judge Chhabria noted that it was unclear whether these actions amounted to an “unlawful agreement” under federal antitrust laws, thus siding with Apple’s argument that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate any unlawful app rules or business agreements.

Related: Apple Hit With New Consumer Suits Over Smartphone Market Monopoly

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, maintained its innocence throughout the legal proceedings, denying any wrongdoing. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment following the dismissal of the lawsuit.

This legal victory comes amidst ongoing antitrust scrutiny faced by Apple, including a lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department and a coalition of states alleging monopolistic practices in the smartphone market. Apple has vehemently denied these allegations and pledged to vigorously contest the case.

In a related development, a federal judge ruled in September that payment card issuers could proceed with a lawsuit against Apple concerning alleged anticompetitive behavior involving its Apple Pay mobile wallet.

While Apple emerges victorious in this particular case, the broader legal battles surrounding its market dominance and business practices continue to unfold, shaping the landscape of competition in the tech industry.

Source: Reuters