writes: Without the costs associated with brick-and-mortar establishments, Internet retailers have been able to offer deep discounts to on-line consumers. But this may change. In a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court today overruled a 96-year-old antitrust law that prevented the setting of 'price floors' by manufacturers. Under the ruling, manufacturers will be allowed to force price minimums upon distributers and retailers. This may make Internet discounts a thing of the past.
From Atty. Pete Barile:
Importantly, this case points a dagger at the heart of the most consumer-friendly aspects of the Internet. The Internet has shifted power to the consumer in two ways. First, it allows consumers to search for and gather information in a cost-effective, efficient manner. Second, it provides a low-cost means of retailing, making it easy for discounters to offer products to the public. This combination squeezes excess profits and inefficiencies out of product prices. Retail price maintenance seeks to short circuit this extremely consumer friendly process. By setting minimum prices, manufacturers can build in excess margins for themselves and for their favored retailers — prices that consumers have no choice but to pay.