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Antitrust Lawsuit Accuses Apple of Monopolizing iOS Apple Pay

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A proposed federal class action lawsuit against Apple Pay has been partially denied by California Northern District Judge Jeffrey White. The lawsuit was filed by three credit unions who accused Apple of violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. They claimed that Apple charges excessive processing fees and unfairly restricts access to its NFC-scanning hardware for other digital wallets. The judge agreed with the credit unions’ argument that Apple Pay has created its own market due to its convenience and functionality, making it a monopoly.

The judge also supported the claim that Apple Pay is “unlawfully tied” to Apple devices such as phones, tablets, and watches. However, he sided with Apple’s argument that the claim falls flat because using Apple Pay is optional and free. Despite this, the judge acknowledged that the claim of Apple having a monopoly is “plausible.” He criticized Apple for charging arbitrary and inflated fees for payment processing and expressed concerns about the lack of competition in the iOS digital payments market. The judge found the absence of NFC access for third-party apps to be anticompetitive.

Apple and the credit unions will have their next court hearing on December 1st where both parties will present their arguments further. The ruling of this lawsuit will have significant implications for Apple’s control over the digital payments market and the practices it employs, including its exclusionary use of the iPhone’s NFC reader.

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