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Apple and Amazon failed to win a dismissal of an iPhone price-fixing lawsuit against them

Apple allegedly tried to prevent the growth of a secondary market for its high-priced products.
Apple allegedly tried to prevent the growth of a secondary market for its high-priced products.

A federal judge in Seattle rejected the proposed dismissal of a lawsuit targeting Apple and Amazon for inflating the prices of iPhones and iPads on Thursday (June 9).

Originally filed in November, the lawsuit targets a 2019 agreement between the two companies in which Amazon agreed to restrict the number of Apple resellers on its platform, in exchange for Apple giving Amazon a discount of up to 10% on its products.

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In a motion to dismiss, lawyers for Apple argued that the agreement was meant to prevent the sale of counterfeit knockoffs of its products on Amazon.

The plaintiffs in the case are all US customers who purchased Apple products on Amazon after 2019.

There were as many as 600 Apple resellers on the site before the 2019 agreement, according to the initial complaint. Afterward, prices rose more than 10% on the Amazon marketplace, and discounts, which had been offered frequently, were discontinued.

Apple and Amazon were fined for a similar agreement by Italy’s antitrust authority in 2021, although the fine was overturned on appeal.

The two companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the judge’s decision.

Quotable: An anti-competitive agreement

“Erecting barriers to entry to keep competitors out and raising prices in the wake of their elimination is precisely the kind of conduct that Congress enacted antitrust laws to prevent.” — Plaintiff’s original complaint in November.

How big are Amazon and Apple? By the digits

$2.85 trillion: Apple’s market capitalization, making it the most valuable company in the world by that metric. Amazon’s is a little less than half that, at $1.27 trillion.

1,541,000: Number of Amazon employees, both part-time and full-time, making it the second-largest employer in the world.

2 billion: Number of worldwide active Apple devices, including MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads.

60%: Percentage of American households that subscribe to Amazon Prime. That’s about 147 million Prime accounts.

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