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Apple and Amazon colluded to raise iPhone and iPad prices, class action claims

Lawsuit claims Amazon and Apple benefited from fewer vendors, higher prices.



Enlarge / A class-action lawsuit claims that Apple products, like the iPad mini, are sold almost exclusively by Amazon itself on its own marketplace, harming customers’ ability to pay less in a competitive market. (credit: Getty Images)

In early 2018, there were more than 600 companies you could buy Apple products from on Amazon’s marketplace, including independent refurbishers, usually at lower prices than Apple’s own. By July 2019, there were only seven, and a class-action lawsuit says that was the result of an unlawful agreement between the tech giants.

The lawsuit (PDF) was filed Wednesday in federal court in Seattle by law firm Hagens Berman on behalf of Steven Floyd. Floyd is a Pennsylvania man who bought an iPad on Amazon for $320 in early 2021 and was denied “a lower price which would have been the case in a normal competitive market,” the suit alleges.

Hagens Berman should be a familiar name to Apple’s counsel and close watchers of the company’s legal history. The firm sued Apple over scratched iPod nano cases in 2005 and ebook price-fixing in 2011 and brokered a settlement for smaller iOS developers in the App Store in 2021. Hagens Berman was also involved in a complicated lawsuit involving iOS touchscreen patents that involved Apple accusing the firm of secretly leaning on an “extra attorney.”

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