Lawsuit alleges Apple and Amazon colluded to raise iPhone and iPad prices

Nov. 9 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Inc (AMZN.O) were charged in an antitrust suit Wednesday with conspiracy to drive up iPhone and iPad prices by nearly all other new Apple resellers products from the Amazon website.

The proposed class action in Seattle federal court objected to an agreement that went into effect in January 2019 under which Apple gave Amazon discounts of up to 10% on its products, in exchange for Amazon allowing only seven of its 600 resellers to remain on its platform. .

This turned Amazon into the dominant reseller of new iPhones and iPads on its website, according to the complaint, having previously sold a limited number of Apple products and counterfeit products.

Prices rose more than 10% as Apple stabilized the prices it charged in stores, the complaint said. Discounts of 20% or more that were once common are now no more, it added.

“Putting barriers to entry to keep competitors out and raising prices in the wake of their elimination is exactly the kind of behavior Congress enacted antitrust laws to prevent,” the indictment said. “The case is open and closed.”

Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Combined product sales of Cupertino, California-based Apple and Seattle-based Amazon were $125 billion in the third quarter of this year.

Wednesday’s lawsuit concerns U.S. residents who have purchased new iPhones and iPads on Amazon since January 2019.

It seeks unspecified triple damages, restitution and an end to the companies’ so-called “group boycott”.

The named plaintiff, Steven Floyd of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, said he paid $319.99 for a new iPad purchased from Amazon on the company’s website, and was denied the opportunity to pay less because of competition. had been suppressed.

Last month, an Italian administrative court canceled a €173.3 million ($173.6 million) fine against Apple and Amazon by the Italian antitrust regulator for alleged price fixing.

The case is Floyd v Inc et al, US District Court, Western District of Washington, No. 22-01599.

(1 euro = US$1.002)

Reporting by Jonathan Stamp in New York; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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