Apple Secures Victory in Antitrust Lawsuit Filed by Venmo, Cash App

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United States District Judge Vince Chhabria has delivered a significant blow to an antitrust lawsuit leveled against Apple by Venmo and Cash App customers. 

The lawsuit, initiated on November 17, 2023, in San Jose, alleged that Apple’s Apple Cash product exhibited anti-competitive behavior, particularly within the framework of the iOS App Store.

As reported earlier by TheCoinRise, in August last year, the United States Supreme Court denied a plea from Epic Games to immediately relax Apple’s App Store payment regulations, which could have helped crypto and NFT app users.

Apple and its Monopolistic Practices

The crux of the complaint revolved around Apple’s purported monopolistic practices, with specific emphasis on the obstacles it allegedly imposes on competitors seeking to introduce innovative features, such as decentralized cryptocurrency payments, into their products and services. 

According to the complainants, this impediment stifles competition and deprives iOS users of competitive pricing and enhanced functionality.

Dismissal of the Lawsuit

However, Judge Chhabria swiftly dismissed the lawsuit on March 26, citing multiple deficiencies within the complaint. 

Among the fatal issues highlighted were the plaintiffs’ failure to substantiate the alleged antitrust violations or adequately explain the exclusion of competitors like Zelle from the initial complaint. Furthermore, the judge deemed the premise of the lawsuit speculative and lacking in merit.

Relevance of Guidelines

Central to the judge’s ruling was the dismissal of the relevance of Apple’s guideline (3.1.5 in the App Store T.O.S.), which supposedly prohibits decentralized cryptocurrency transactions. 

The judge deemed it questionable whether this guideline indeed restricts such transactions and questioned the validity of considering companies’ adherence to Apple’s guidelines as constituting an unlawful agreement.

Apple Secures Win

While the plaintiffs have been granted 21 days to submit amendments to the case, the prospects of salvaging the lawsuit appear bleak. 

Judge Chhabria’s final remarks underscore the uphill battle facing the plaintiffs, suggesting that the defects outlined in the ruling may only scratch the surface of the complaint’s shortcomings. Failure to file an amended complaint within the stipulated time frame will result in the dismissal being recorded with prejudice.

“Apple’s motion to dismiss has put them on notice of many more potential problems. Indeed, it is difficult to see how amendment could salvage this case. But, in an abundance of caution, the motion to dismiss is granted with leave to amend. If no amended complaint is filed within 21 days of this ruling, dismissal will be with prejudice,” read the filing.

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