Apple and Amazon ordered to face consumer lawsuit over iPhone and iPad pricing

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Apple and Amazon are facing a consumer antitrust lawsuit in the United States for allegedly conspiring to artificially increase the prices of iPhones and iPads sold on Amazon’s platform, according to a ruling by a federal judge in Seattle on the 8th of June. 

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour denied Apple and Amazon’s requests to dismiss the class action lawsuit on various legal grounds, stating that a jury would determine the validity of the relevant market.

Among several legal actions contesting Amazon’s pricing practices, the lawsuit was filed in November.

The ruling means that the case will now proceed to evidence-gathering and other pretrial proceedings.

Neither Apple, Amazon or their respective legal representatives responded to requests for immediate comment on the court’s ruling.

The plaintiffs in the case are U.S. residents who purchased new iPhones and iPads on Amazon from January 2019 onwards. 

They allege that an agreement between Apple and Amazon, implemented that same year, violated antitrust laws by limiting the number of competitive resellers.

Based on the legal filing, approximately 600 independent retailers of Apple products operated on Amazon’s platform in 2018. 

The lawsuit alleges that Apple and Amazon made a deal in which Amazon would be granted a discount on Apple goods in return for decreasing the number of Apple resellers in its marketplace.

Apple has defended the agreement, arguing that it was intended to combat the sale of counterfeit Apple products on Amazon’s platform. 

The company’s attorneys described the agreement as ‘commonplace’ and asserted its procompetitive and lawful nature, citing previous court rulings.

The judge in Seattle mentioned that the reasons behind the agreement between Apple and Amazon would be examined and discussed during the later phases of the legal process.

In recent financial reports, Apple recorded sales of $94.8 billion in the second quarter, while Amazon reported $127.4 billion in its most recent earnings report.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified triple damages and other forms of relief in their complaint.

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