Apple has failed in a bid to rid itself of a court-appointed monitor, imposed on the tech company after it was accused of conspiring to raise the price of e-books.
Michael Bromwich's $1000-an-hour job is to ensure Cupertino is compliant with the outcome of the price-fixing case—an imposition that Apple claims is excessively burdensome, given that it must cut his checks. But the federal appeals court ruled that the environment must be "appropriately constrained" and that Bromwich can't be disqualified.
Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general, began assessing Apple’s antitrust compliance policies six days after he was appointed in October 2013 by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who held the company liable
The case was a bitter one, given that the alleged price-fixing represented efforts by publishers and Apple, a newcomer to the market, to compete with Amazon's overwhelming domination of the ebook marketplace. Mat Honan summed it up like so:
But there were no heroes, and plenty of history coming home to roost for those involved.
Apple objects not only to the cost, but the scope of Bromwich's work. Bromwich says it's just playing games because it can't take its medicine.
According to Bromwich, Apple was pulling a shakedown. He’d filed a report on the company with the court, as had been required, and said Apple was furious with the results. The company, he argued, had been refusing to pay him as punishment.
"The monitoring team still lacks a significant amount of the information it needs to fulfill its monitoring obligations," Bromwich wrote in the report. "For these reasons, and others described in this report, the Monitor’s assessment of Apple’s antitrust compliance policies, procedures, and training remains preliminary."
"We're here in large part not because Apple objects to the fact that we wrote the report," Bromwich said. "We're commanded specifically to write that report and subsequent reports by the final judgment. They're objecting to our discretionary decisions about what to put in the report. There can be nothing more chilling to someone in my position to have the contents of a report challenged and for payment to be declined because the monitored entity isn't happy with what's in the report."