Bromwich to Apple: Screw You, and Pay What I Say

Michael Bromwich, the court appointed attorney watching over Apple as part of the company's antitrust violation ruling, is taking issue with the iPhone and iPad maker's complaints about his actions and fees. He has even gone so far as to say that Apple's job is to pay him what he says regardless of what the company thinks is reasonable, which in this case is US$1,100 an hour.

Attorney to Apple: You'll pay what I say and be glad for it.Attorney to Apple: You'll pay what I say and be glad for it.

Apple filed a complaint with the court last week saying that Mr. Bromwich's $138,432 bill for two weeks work is unprecedented and out of line. "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," the company said in its complaint.

Apple also complained that Mr. Bromwich is acting outside the scope of his duties by demanding to interview Apple executives and board members without legal counsel, and that he intends to report back to the court without allowing Apple attorneys to be present.

Mr. Bromwich has fired back with his own response, according to AllThingsD, where he told CEO Tim Cook, "You people seem to think I'm working for you."

He added,

My fees are reasonable, and you have no idea what a reasonable fee looks like. Also, it doesn't matter if you think my fees are reasonable, because you don't get to negotiate them: You just pay them. The court will approve them.

Considering the number of legal proceedings Apple is involved in around the world, there's a good chance it has some idea what attorneys cost, and whether or not those rates are reasonable. Apple's filing said the company hasn't ever seen rates this high, and added that Mr. Bromwich has hired additional attorneys -- five of them -- to help him and cover for his lack of knowledge.

Mr. Bromwich was appointed to monitor Apple as part of the company's conviction in a Federal case accusing the company and several publishers of colluding to artificially raise book prices. The publishers all settled out of court to avoid extra legal expenses and fines, but Apple moved forward on its own and was ultimately found guilty.

Apple plans to appeal the ruling, but until that plays out it looks like Mr. Bromwich will be watching over Apple's negotiations and taking his cut from the company's coffers.

The court hasn't responded to Apple's complaint yet, but it seems clear that Mr. Bromwich isn't willing to take the accusations without putting up a fight. Considering how fired up both sides are, there's a good chance this will make for an interesting court room appearance.