Apple dodges lawsuit that claimed its crypto-blocking deals with Google, PayPal, and others were anticompetitive

Cash App by Square on an iPhone
(Image credit: iMore)

Apple will not face a class action lawsuit over claims that its deals with payment app companies chill innovation in the space after a judge tossed the suit, saying that it "suffers from several fatal problems." U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said that the plaintiffs had not been able to adequately allege antitrust standing "given the speculative nature of the connection between the alleged anticompetitive conduct and the plaintiffs' injury."

The lawsuit was originally filed in November of 2023 and claimed that Apple was in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act as a result of agreements it held with Google, PayPal, and other payment companies. Those agreements prevented the use of cryptocurrency payment options via the apps those companies made available on the iPhone, something that the lawsuit argues results in more costly payment options for users.

However, that now won't be tested in court after the judge said that there was no way that the case could be revived even if it was amended. "Indeed, it is difficult to see how amendment could salvage this case," Chabbria wrote in the opinion, "But, in an abundance of caution, the motion to dismiss is granted with leave to amend." 

"The complaint suffers from several fatal problems"

The opinion, reported by BizJournals, comes after Apple lodged a motion to dismiss the original suit in February, saying that allegations that its agreements stop companies from using crypto technology on its iPhones and iPads were "demonstrably false." It isn't clear whether Apple's stance had any impact on the judge's decision.

The original lawsuit claimed that competition in the peer-to-peer payment space was being hampered by high fees for cash and credit card transactions because there was no option to use cryptocurrencies instead.

Apple's stance on crypto in general has come under scrutiny while scam apps have been repeatedly used to steal money from iPhone users.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.