Appeals Court Rejects Apple's Request to Remove iBooks Antitrust Monitor

Michael Bromwich Michael Bromwich
Court Appointed Apple Monitor

Apple experienced a setback on Wednesday in its quest to rid itself of a court-appointed antitrust monitor. In a unanimous ruling, a three judge panel of the 2nd Circuit criticized some of that monitor's behavior, but also criticized Apple for allowing the relationship to deteriorate.

Michael Bromwich was appointed to monitor Apple by Judge Denise Cote after she found Apple guilty of antitrust violations in 2013. Apple is appealing its conviction, and has chafed at having a monitor. Friction between Apple and Mr. Bromwich have mounted, with Apple accusing him of overstepping his bounds and Mr. Bromwich accusing Apple of not cooperating.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the court ruled that Michael Bromwich was "appropriately constrained." They noted that Apple could continue to file objections with Judge Cote if the company believed Mr. Bromwich was still overstepping his bounds.

The court also criticized some of Mr. Bromwich's past actions as being, "the opposite of best practice for a court-appointed monitor." Despite that, however, the judges left Mr. Bromwich in place.

For Apple's part, the panel said that Apple had failed to follow procedures put in place by Judge Cote to mediate disputes. In the concurring opinion, Judge Jesse M. Furman wrote, "Instead, the company largely sat on its hands, allowing issues with the monitor to fester and the relationship to deteriorate, mostly without the district court’s knowledge."

Apple's broader appeal continues. In a series of procedural rulings such as this, the 2nd Circuit has sometimes seemed to side with Apple and sometimes not. According to The Journal, a final ruling could come any time.