Amazon and Apple Supposedly Collude to Raise Consumer Prices

Mikko Rocco
Published Nov 4, 2023

Apple and Amazon are two of the largest corporations that this world has ever seen. They're multinational corporations that control so much of the market that it's rather hard to calculate. Apple not only has the iPhone and other IOS products but many more patents on so much tech that people use. Amazon, of course, is the biggest marketplace in world history, and one of the world's biggest employers. So, when news broke that there is currently a class action suit against both of these companies, in tandem, it sent a few shock waves through the market. The class action suit in question is alleging that Apple and Amazon both colluded in order to not only raise prices on IOS products, but also to benefit only a few verified vendors. In other words, the allegation is that Apple paid Amazon for Amazon to push Apple's products for increased sales at increased prices, making a whole lot of money for both corporations.

Not a whole lot is known about this lawsuit to date. It was only filed Wednesday, Nov 9, and so it's still very fresh and the details are still developing. From what's available publicly so far, however, it's pretty clear that the people who filed this lawsuit had been planning it for quite some time. Information about this lawsuit starts back in 2018, nearly five years ago, and it alleges that there used to be over 600 companies and sellers on Amazon's Marketplace from which you could purchase Apple products. By the summer of 2019, however, that number had been whittled down drastically to only seven (7) verified sellers. The kicker: Those seven sellers were charging a whole lot more for Apple products, since there wasn't any competition to offer lower prices and force the rates to drop.

As a result, the lawsuit alleges, Apple was able to greatly raise the price of their products; even old dated products were selling for way above market rate on Amazon. The suit was filed after a man from Pennsylvania, Steven Floyd, paid $320 for an iPad and couldn't find any other seller on Amazon offering a lower price. What was so unusual about this was not simply the price; it was the fact that no other Apple sellers could be found, except a very small group that was all interconnected and charging the exact same prices. This was such an oddity that Floyd contacted a lawyer, and a suit was filed in federal court in Seattle, Washington by the Hagens Berman law firm.

Hagens Berman actually has a history with Apple. They sued the corporation years ago for selling scratched iPod nano cases and also rigging the prices of eBooks. Apple eventually reached a settlement in the case.

The suit addresses a public and legal agreement between Apple and Amazon in 2018, where Amazon was allowed to directly sell Apple products. However, nowhere in that agreement did it state that other sellers would be banned from selling Apple products, and this allegedly led to these Amazon sellers charging much more for Apple products than they are worth on the market. The suit also alleges that Amazon received these products at a 10% discount to sell, so they were making a big profit coming and going.

A New Day, the Same Sort of News

Unfortunately, it doesn't shock anyone to learn that two huge, multinational corporations were colluding in order to profit. Of course, these are still allegations at this point, but the court of public opinion will certainly rule that these corporations are guilty. The tricky thing, however, is that these corporations will just throw money at the issue, tacitly admitting their guilt, but they won't ever have to go through a trial and fully admit that they are guilty of doing this. Meanwhile, the vast majority of businesses are barely hanging on by a thread due to the government showing favoritism to these large corporate donors. It's always the same sort of rotten news with these corporations, and people are getting a little fed up with being so powerless to stop it all.

Even if someone wanted to boycott a company like Amazon, the COVID lockdowns forced most other businesses to close, and so people were basically funneled into huge corporations like Apple and Walmart. Only time will tell what comes of this suit, but if it's like every other time, these corporations will pay out a little bit of money and keep doing the same things.

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