(Reuters) — Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. were accused in an antitrust lawsuit on Wednesday of conspiring to drive up iPhone and iPad prices by removing nearly every other retailer of new Apple products from Amazon’s website.
The proposed class action in Seattle federal court challenged an agreement that took effect in January 2019, under which Apple gave Amazon discounts of up to 10% on its products, in exchange for Amazon allowing just seven of 600 retailers to remain on its platform.
This turned Amazon into the dominant retailer of new iPhones and iPads on its site, according to the complaint, after it had previously carried a limited number of Apple products as well as knockoffs.
Prices rose by more than 10%, while Apple stabilized the prices it charged in stores, the complaint said. Discounts of 20% or more that were once common are no more, it added.
“Erecting barriers to entry to keep out competitors and raising prices in the wake of their elimination is exactly the kind of behavior that Congress enacted antitrust laws to prevent,” the complaint said. “The case is open and closed.”
The lawsuit covers US residents who bought new iPhones and iPads on Amazon since January 2019.
Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.