A new antitrust lawsuit filed in Washington today claims that Apple and Amazon “colluded” to boost iPhone and iPad sales by weeding out third-party Amazon sellers who offer Apple products at lower prices.
The antitrust lawsuit, filed by law firm Hagens Berman, alleges that Apple and Amazon have an “illegal horizontal agreement” that reduces “the competitive threat posed by third-party merchants,” which violates federal antitrust law. What used to be some 600 third-party sellers of Apple devices on Amazon’s Marketplace has been squeezed down to just seven.
Amazon began weeding out third-party sellers after signing a 2019 agreement with Apple, limiting the number of distributors on Amazon’s marketplace to 20 per country. In exchange, Apple offered Amazon discounted wholesale prices for iPhones and iPads.
By restricting third-party sellers from offering Apple products, Amazon has made itself the dominant seller of Apple products on Amazon Marketplace, which both Amazon and Apple “benefit from,” even though it “would hurt consumers.”
The lawsuit alleges that before the agreement was reached, third-party distributors offered prices significantly lower than Apple had hoped, though they did not provide information about the specific devices whose prices were raised as a result of the agreement, nor did they explain whether the sellers were offering older or newer devices. equipment, or refurbished equipment.
IT House understands that Hagens Berman’s goal is to issue an injunction to prevent Amazon from blocking third-party Apple resellers and provide compensation to consumers who “overpaid for iPhones and iPads.”