U.S. District Judge Denise Cote today denied Apple's attempts to thwart its antitrust monitorship, reports Reuters. Apple had asked the court for both a stay on the original order requiring an external compliance monitor (due to a pending appeal) and the removal of Michael Bromwich, the attorney appointed to serve as the company's monitor. Both requests were denied.
Apple Inc lost a bid on Monday to block an antitrust monitor appointed after a judge's finding that the company conspired to fix e-book prices. At a hearing, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan denied Apple's request to stay an order requiring an external compliance monitor pending the company's appeal.
Apple also sought to have the judge disqualify the lawyer chosen to serve as monitor, Michael Bromwich.
Apple and appointed antitrust compliance monitor Bromwich have ongoing disagreements since November, when Apple filed a formal complaint over Bromwich's fees in the case, which amounted to $138,432 over a two week period. The company also complained that Bromwich was overstepping his bounds by demanding lawyer-less meetings with key Apple executives and board members.
Bromwich, for his part, claimed that he experienced "a surprising and disappointing lack of cooperation from Apple and its executives", filing a complaint against the company in late December. Apple responded by requesting his removal last week, stating that Bromwich had a personal bias against the company.
Earlier today, the Department of Justice condemned Apple's actions, stating Apple had "chosen a campaign of character assassination over a culture of compliance" and suggested that Bromwich was open to negotiating with Apple on the original fee dispute.
Judge Cote plans to issue a decision explaining her reasoning on the denial in the near future, at which point Apple will have 48 hours to request an emergency stay from the federal appeals court in New York.
Apple was originally found guilty of conspiring with publishers to raise the retail price of e-books in July. As part of its punishment, the company was forced to hire an external compliance monitor to ensure that it complies with antitrust requirements in the future.
Top Rated Comments
Must have been a different Judge Denise Cote :rolleyes:
I mean, really, if you were sent to a repair guy to get your car fixed, and the repair guy handed it off to an "expert in repairing cars" because he was actually an appliance repairman, then billed for both his and the expert's time, you'd say that the repair guy was incompetent and should never have been given the work in the first place.
How is this any different? Because lawyers are special flowers who get to take work they don't know how to do and bill fabulous amounts of money for hiring outside help to do the work?
Last time I checked, the goal of antitrust regulations was to promote competition and support consumers' long term interests. I guess Amazon spends a whole lot more lobbying money in Washington.
Let's face it, that's what this is all about. Apple has never played by the same 'rules' that other big business play by. Minimal lobbying, no massive corporate PAC money, not rolling over and playing dead about the whole tax scheme thing a few months back, etc.
This is about forcing Apple to conform and demonstrating the government's ability to force it's will on anyone--even the most successful company in the US.
If I were in Tim Cook's shoes, I would kick the guy out of the building and dare the court to take further action. They've done nothing wrong. Their actions were not criminal, and even if they were (by some imaginative stretch) the 'ebooks market' is not large or vital enough for antitrust law to really even be a consideration.
I'm proud of them for standing up to this and I hope they continue.
It is very apparent that there most likely is a conflict of personality between the current monitor and Apple and that both parties feel like it is impeding their ability to get work accomplished. Seems simple, change out the monitor. If the monitor is doing what they are assigned to do why does it matter who the monitor is.
This seems to be a very odd response especially in light of the fact that the monitor (Bromwich) is an old friend of the judge on the case (Cote).