Apple stuck with antitrust monitor in ebooks case, court says

Apple’s court-appointed antitrust monitor will remain, said a federal appeals court, as Reuters reported.

Ever since he was appointed by a judge in October 2013 for the two-year stint, lawyer Michael Bromwich and Apple have had an adversarial relationship, as we have written in a blog post.

Apple is appealing the judge’s verdict that it had violated antitrust laws when it entered an agreement on book prices with five publishers in 2010.

The iPhone maker has complained about Bromwich from the very beginning. The firm has objected to Bromwich’s request to interview top executives at the firm and complained about his hourly fee (now $1,000 per hour, down from $1,100), which the iPhone maker pays.

In recent months, Bromwich has complained that his relationship with the company has deteriorated, with the firm limiting who he speaks to and his team’s access to training sessions, as the Associated Press reported.

While Apple has made important strides in terms of instituting antitrust training for the staff, Bromwich said it still hadn’t complied with key elements of the judge’s order, such as appointing an independent antitrust compliance officer.

As Apple sought to halt Bromwich’s work, the plaintiffs in the case opposed, and Bromwich submitted an affidavit supporting their position.

That move was “the opposite of best practice for a court appointed monitor” and may raise an “appearance of impropriety,” said Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs, writing for the appeals court.

Above: Apple’s logo. (KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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