How Wal-Mart is slipping around Apple's price controls on the new iPhones

Wal-Mart Stores plans to sell the newest iterations of iPhones at a discount, a pricing strategy that Apple has managed to squash for years. The cheaper iPhone 5c will be sold at the world’s largest retailer for $79 along with a standard two-year service contract, 20 percent less than anywhere else in the U.S. The higher-end iPhone 5s will sell for $189, $10 cheaper than its typical sticker price with a service contract.

In the world of smartphone retail, this marks something of a breakthrough. Apple for decades has excelled at making sure the prices for its gadgets were as simple and as stripped down as the products themselves—a level of control achieved through a fairly aggressive combination of carrot and stick known as “price maintenance.”

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