M-Edge makes some awesome cases for the Kindle and other ebook readers. They made the case I had my original Kindle in for many years, and I loved it. We’ve also covered many of their iPad cases here at Gear Diary and they consistently receive high marks for build quality and useful, eye-catching designs. Unfortunately, M-Edge is alleging in a lawsuit that Amazon doesn’t feel the same way about their Kindle cases.
According to the Wall Street Journal, M-Edge is claiming some pretty unpleasant business dealings have gone down with Amazon:
M-Edge said in the lawsuit that in November 2009, it signed a three-year agreement to pay Amazon a roughly 15% commission for product sales. The company said that two months later, Amazon then demanded that it sign a new contract in which it would pay roughly 32% commission instead. The suit alleged that an Amazon executive threatened to “de-list” M-Edge from the Amazon website if it refused to do so.
According to the lawsuit, M-Edge said it refused, but Amazon kept pressing the company. In May 2010, M-Edge said another Amazon executive demanded that it sign the new contract again. The suit alleged that the executive said Amazon would “play” with M-Edge lists on Amazon’s website in a way that “no one will be able to find you.”
M-Edge said in the lawsuit that it couldn’t afford such consequences, since it got 90% of its revenue from Amazon, and signed a new contract in July 2010. M-Edge said the contract cost it $6.5 million in commissions and fees it wouldn’t have otherwise had to pay.
I am not an attorney, nor do I know anything about the inner business dealings at Amazon or M-Edge…but if even a bit of this is true, it’s very ugly and reflects really poorly on Amazon! I did a bit of digging, and it looks like M-Edge hasn’t made Kindle cases since the Kindle 3, or at least they don’t stock them through Amazon, so it seems like that relationship may have soured beyond repair. Unfortunately, as of this writing [Tuesday evening], the M-Edge store is down, so I wasn’t able to cross reference what is/is not carried by Amazon in their inventory.
Ironically, if you Google “M-Edge”, the sponsored ad that comes up is for M-Edge cases at Amazon! It illustrates that a good relationship with Amazon is incredibly important to a company, and it’s bad news for everyone if Amazon is abusing their position. Hopefully we’ll learn more as this lawsuit progresses, and in the meantime let’s hope this isn’t a trend between accessory makers and Amazon!