Judge Cote Denies Apple's Request to Recall Her Watchdog

Judge Denise Cote denied a request from Apple to call off her pet watchdog, monitor Michael Bromwich. The move was not surprising, as Apple is protesting what Mr. Bromwich claims is his very mandate from the judge.

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Monday's ruling was in response to filings from Apple requesting that the monitorship Judge Cote put in place be stayed pending appeal, and another motion to replace Mr. Bromwich even if the monitorship remained in place. Judge Cote denied both motions, and said she would "promptly" file her reasons, after which Apple would have 48 hours to appeal to a federal appeals court.

Judge Cote found Apple guilty of being the ringleader of an effort to fix ebook prices, an antitrust violation. She installed her friend Michael Bromwich as an inside monitor for ongoing antitrust compliance within Apple.

Mr. Bromwich and Apple immediately butted heads when Apple accused him of mounting an intrusive investigation within Apple well outside his mandate to monitor compliance, and charging far too much to do so. For his part, Mr. Bromwich said that Apple has been obstructing his every effort to do precisely what Judge Cote hired him to do.

Reuters reported that Judge Cote said that, "I want the monitorship to succeed for Apple," and that there was nothing improper about a declaration filed by Mr. Bromwich that Apple had pointed to as an example of a bias against the company.

The Department of Justice, which headed the successful antitrust prosecution against Apple, had filed a motion of support for Mr. Bromwich. GigaOM reported that the DOJ said, "Apple has chosen a campaign of character assassination over a culture of compliance," and that Apple was missing the opportunity to “change its corporate tone."

As noted above, Monday's ruling from Judge Cote is hardly a surprise, and it's really just part of the process for Apple to get its arguments heard by a higher court. Mr. Bromwich is clearly doing what Judge Cote wants, and it remains for Apple to convince someone else that what she wants is wrong.

I also noted a fantastic editorial on the subject of this antitrust case by Kathleen Sharp over at Salon. It's a great recap mixed with excellent analysis on Amazon's role in the case.

Image made with help from Shutterstock.