Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple for Restricting Crypto Features in Payment Apps Dismissed

News | April 8, 2024 By:

On Tuesday, March 26, 2024, United States District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed an antitrust lawsuit filed against technology company Apple. The suit was brought forward by customers of popular payment apps Venmo and Cash App.

In his ruling, Judge Chhabria outlined several issues with the plaintiff’s arguments against Apple. He noted they failed to properly demonstrate antitrust actions by the company. The judge also questioned why similar payment services like Zelle were not mentioned in the complaint.

The lawsuit, filed in November 2023 in San Jose, California, claimed Apple’s restrictive policies in the iOS App Store harmed competition. It alleged Apple prevented Venmo and Cash App from including features for decentralized cryptocurrency payments. This limited functionality and drove up prices for consumers, according to the plaintiffs.

However, Judge Chhabria pointed to Apple’s App Store review guidelines for apps involving cryptocurrency transactions. He said it was unclear how following this standard could constitute an illegal agreement against competition. The guidelines appear aimed at setting norms for such apps, rather than barring their operation or new features.

In dismissing the case, the judge gave the plaintiffs 21 days to amend their complaint and strengthen their antitrust claims against Apple. However, he also warned the identified issues may not be the only deficiencies in the suit. This implies the amended complaint may still face an uphill battle if filed again.

The ruling and its implications draw attention to debates around tech giants’ control of app marketplaces and interaction with emerging payment technologies like cryptocurrency. It remains to be seen if the plaintiffs provide a more compelling argument in any revised legal challenge against Apple’s App Store policies.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.