Apple calls for removal of antitrust compliance monitor

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Apple calls for removal of antitrust compliance monitor

Warwick Ashford

Apple has called for the removal of antitrust compliance monitor Michael Bromwich, accusing him of personal bias against the company.

Bromwich was appointed to keep an eye on Apple for two years after the company was found guilty in July 2013 of conspiring with other publishers to set e-book prices.

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In particular, Apple is unhappy about a court filing last month in which Bromwich laid out his full list of grievances against Apple, according to US reports.

He claimed that responses to requested meetings with Apple have been limited and that his team has so far received only a small number of the documents requested and promised.

Apple said the filing raised questions over the attorney's impartiality.

In court documents, Apple also complained about Bromwich’s “reliance on pre-appointment conversations with the court and plaintiffs as grounds for expanding his mandate beyond the terms of the final judgment, his active collaboration with plaintiffs to broaden the scope of his mandate in this manner and oppose Apple's motion for stay, his financial demands, and his adversarial, inquisitorial, and prosecutorial communications and activities toward Apple since his appointment”.

Tensions between Apple and Bromwich began just a month after his appointment, when last November Apple claimed that Bromwich’s fees were excessive, citing the $138,432 he charged for the first two weeks on the job.

The antitrust case was brought by the US Department of Justice, which charged Apple with conspiring with publishers to adopt the so-called agency model.

Switching to the model meant that publishers set the price of e-books directly, effectively ending Amazon’s ability to set its own prices.

The five publishers were originally named as defendants alongside Apple, but later reached settlements.

Penguin settled its case for $75m and Macmillan settled for $26m, while Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster created a $69m fund for refunds to consumers.

In the July 2013 ruling, New York judge Denise Cote found that Apple had played a central role in facilitating and executing the conspiracy.


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