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(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 all other resellers of new Apple products from Amazon’s website.
The proposed class action in Seattle federal court objected to 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 letting just seven of 600 resellers stay on its platform.
This transformed Amazon into the dominant reseller of new iPhones and iPads on its website, according to the complaint, after it had previously carried a limited number of Apple products as well as knockoffs.
Prices rose more than 10%, while Apple stabilized the prices it charged in retail stores, the complaint said. Discounts of 20% or more that were once common no longer are, it added.
"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," the complaint said. "The case is open and shut."
The lawsuit covers U.S. residents who bought new iPhones and iPads on Amazon since January 2019.
Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.