Apple asks Court to Stop Court Appointed Monitor in Antitrust Case

Apple has filed a motion in hopes of stopping the court appointed monitor in its ebook antitrust case. Michael Bromwich was appointed by Federal Judge Denise Cote to help ensure Apple doesn't engage in negotiations that could run afoul of antitrust laws, although the iPhone and iPad maker thinks he has overstepped his bounds and has conducted an "overzealous romp through Apple's executive suite."

Apple to court: Ix-nay Judge Cote's monitorApple to court: Ix-nay Judge Cote's monitor

Mr. Bromwich was tasked with monitoring Apple and ensuring the company puts procedures in place to avoid engaging in antitrust activities. Apple, along with five of the big book publishers, had been accused of colluding to artificially raise the price of books. The publishers all settled out of court to avoid hefty legal expenses and the threat of steep fines. Apple, however, pushed forward alone with the assertion that it had done nothing wrong.

In the end, Judge Cote ruled that Apple did, in fact, conspire with book publishers and ordered Mr. Bromwich in to serve as a court appointed monitor. Mr. Bromwich jumped in with both feet and promptly demanded one-on-one interviews with Apple's top executive staff and board members regardless of whether or not they were involved in ebook price negotiations, then handed over a US$138,432 bill for two weeks worth of work.

Apple wrote to the court in an earlier complaint, "Mr. Bromwich appears to be simply taking advantage of the fact that there is no competition here or, in his view, any ability on the part of Apple, the subject of his authority, to push back on his demands."

In its motion to stay Mr. Bromwich's activities pending an appeal to Judge Cote's ruling, Apple is saying,

[Mr. Bromwich] is conducting a roving investigation that is interfering with Apple's business operations, risking the public disclosure of privileged and confidential information, and imposing substantial and rapidly escalating costs on Apple that it will never be able to recover.

The DOJ disagreed with Apple, according to Forbes, telling the court, "Mr. Bromwich's actions to date have been wholly within the scope of his authority... and at all times appropriate and consistent with his impeccable reputation."

Mr. Bromwich will review Apple's new policies on January 14, assuming the company hasn't been granted a stay blocking him from continuing as a court appointed monitor. Judge Cote has scheduled a hearing on January 13 where Apple and the DOJ can both argue their sides.

Assuming Apple isn't granted a stay, the company will push for an expedited appeal where it hopes to overturn Judge Cotes' ruling.