Apple Requests Removal of External Compliance Monitor in E-Book Antitrust Case

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple today requested that U.S. District Judge Denise Cote disqualify Michael Bromwich, the external compliance monitor Apple was ordered to hire to ensure the company complies with all antitrust requirements in the future, from serving in his position, reports Reuters.
    In a letter to Cote, Apple's attorney claimed the report filed by Bromwich last month, in which he accused Apple of blocking interviews and disrupting his investigation, was a "wholly inappropriate declaration".

    Bromwich's report was filed in reaction to a complaint Apple had filed in November, in which the company claimed Bromwich was overcharging them for his services. In addition, Apple cited Bromwich had aggressively sought to interview top executives when his mandate required him to assess the company's antitrust policies 90 days after his appointment.

    Those same complaints were re-asserted in Apple's letter to Cote requesting the removal of Bromwich. Apple was found guilty of conspiring with five publishers to raise the prices of e-books in July.

    Article Link: Apple Requests Removal of External Compliance Monitor in E-Book Antitrust Case
  2. macrumors 6502a


    May 7, 2011
    If they remove Bromwich they should get another external monitor as to complie with the court order. Those fees were extremely overpriced. The fact that he needed to sub-contract someone else because he wasn't familiar with antitrust law for the exact purpose he was hired for is just ridiculous!
  3. macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2011
    He probably is good mates with the judge and thus got thrown a big name company to work on. Typical government benefits.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2003
    San Francisco
    Really surprised they haven't filed complaints with the the state bar in each state he is admitted. If he is being unethical or violating some other clause they could push to get him disbarred, which would end these cushy golden parachute roles.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Compared to what? Do you know the correct fees for this type of work?


    The big question is IF is he is being unethical etc. Just because Apple wants to complain doesn't mean it is so.

    Considering what they were doing to warrant this monitor to begin with was completely illegal doesn't make them very credible.
  6. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    Apple will take this all the way to the Supreme Court if it has to and Judge Cotes decision get will overturned IMO.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    What qualifications do you have to come to your opinion? Are you lawyer?
  8. macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    If I was getting paid $1100 per hour I'd demand to visit the new campus so I could watch the paint dry.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    May 7, 2011
    Compliance monitors are typically paid on average a salary of 55k-65k depending on the company and field compliance. Considering Bromwich doesn't have experience in antitrust law, he doesn't even deserve half of the average salary.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2013
    Lol. If you think the Supreme Court would ever take up this case, your gonna have a bad time. This case poses no constitutional question.
  11. macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    Based on Apple's documented complaints about this guy, and his own letter in defense of himself, Apple is absolutely in the right to request his removal. They're not objecting to having a compliance monitor as ordered by the court, they're objecting to having this one.

    The monitor has no right to investigate the company on a wider scale than was ordered by the court. He has no legitimate reason to meet with people like Jony Ive. He has no right to meet with employees of the company without legal representation. To top all of that, he has a long-time personal relationship with the judge in the case. That alone is a clear conflict.

    They're also appealing the ruling entirely. So not only is it not in their interest to have someone inside the company gathering information that will benefit their opponent in court--there is a question of constitutionality at play. Apple should not be required to incriminate itself or open itself to further intrusive investigations. The appeal should be based on the original case and evidence at hand.

    As for Apple engaging in illegal activity before this...that's questionable at best. Having followed the case closely and seen the evidence presented by the prosecution, I saw nothing that indicated that was the case.

    What I saw was a judge that was inclined from the start to find them guilty. Despite records of meetings, emails and phone calls that didn't at all indicate an ongoing or long-term conspiracy, that's exactly what happened.

    Apple (or any company) has a right to engage in competitive business practices. Even if those practices are aggressive or damage the income of their competitors. Content creators have the right to charge whatever they please for their content--even if it had previously been offered for less.

    The one piece of evidence that seems to have hurt them was a draft email from Steve Jobs indicating that his desire was to raise the price of ebooks so that Apple could compete against the likes of Amazon. The problem is that this was a draft email. It was never sent. If having a personal desire to beat your competitors in business is a crime, or to think up potentially bad ideas to do so is a crime, then we'd have to lock up every business owner in the country.

    It is quite clear to me that Apple was targeted by the DOJ (and multiple states) as an easy target. They assumed that like the publishers, Apple would just cave in, pay their shakedown money and the DOJ would get to claim a "Pro-consumer" victory. They're now being punished for not being obedient. This follows a long history of Apple not playing the corporate lobbying (bribery) game and came on the heels of Apple embarrassing the congressional committee that attacked them over their completely legal tax practices.
  13. macrumors 65816

    Jan 26, 2006

    If your tool of choice is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you look at Cote's entire legal background, her experience is in enforcement. She has a predisposition to side with authorities as opposed to the accused. Neutrality is not her strong suit, to say the least. She has a history of being criticized by lawyers for that bias. She even wrote a draft of her opinion before the case was heard (an outline might have been fine but she went much further). It was a mistake to have Cote on the bench for this case in the first place since her bias was certain to shine through resulting in issues for appeal--a waste of everyone's time and money. Lawyers like Cote are perfect for enforcement agencies but make bad judges. She's made that abundantly clear to all by her behavior throughout this case.
  14. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    First, his fees are high considering that he is paying someone else who actually knows how to do the job and adds his fees as well.

    Second, his fees are high considering that he uses an external company who charges 15% of his fees and his underlings fees to send the bill to Apple, which he also charges Apple.

    Third, his fees are high considering there is nothing to monitor yet, but he is trying to interview everyone at Apple, interfering with Apple's business, trying to rack up more billable hours.


    Common sense. There is a monopoly in the e-book market, and that monopoly is Amazon. When Amazon got competition that threatened to break that monopoly, they ran to the courts, and this judge then restored Amazon's monopoly.


    For half of that, I'd watch you watching the paint dry :D
    And then you'd have your company charge 15% of that for sending the bill to Apple.
  15. macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    This. And I suspect a big reason why Applei a crying foul.

    Frankly Apple wants the whole monitor removed period. They feel it is way over the top. They are pushing to get the whole judgement reversed if possible.

    But as a first step they want a monitor that isn't asking for crazy fees to support lawyers he shouldn't need (the monitor should be someone versed in antitrust law), and is playing by the rules. Including one that the monitor can't speak to anyone without their lawyer or Apple lawyers present and he has tried to force this. Which they refused and thus why they refused his meetings. Also he is there to monitor iBooks stuff and he's trying to stick into things that aren't even slightly connected. If it was iTunes related okay that isn't so bad. But this is stuff way out on another field and Apple won't have that and shouldn't have to.

    So a new monitor that doesn't need his own hired crew, a firm pay rate and firmer rules about what the monitor can and can't do. That's the first step Apple is demanding. And to me it all seems very reasonable


    If he's violating specific court orders like denying folks the right to have a lawyer present when that right was listed in the judgement, then yeah that probably breaks some kind of rule that would get him in trouble

    Actually Cote said several times that the MFN, the agency terms etc are all totally legal. And frankly many don't agree with her determination that Apple was part of any conspiracy to collude. Certainly it seems clear that the publishers did, just not that Apple was an active part in it and created it as the DOJ claimed. Time will tell when Apple is done if higher courts that didn't give their opinions before the trial started agree or disagree.

    And whether those higher courts will step up and set rules that affect all players and not just the one with the big pockets. Amazon pulled some pretty anti competition moves in their hey day and not a peep. It's time to look at that and to prevent such crap in all digital markets by all players.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2012
    I'm not familiar with correct procedure on this type of request but Judge Cote should recuse herself from ruling on this because of the obvious conflict of interest that exists between her and Bromwich. It's this conflict of interest and her blatant bias pretrial that leads me to believe that Apple has a good chance of at least getting the verdict thrown out and a new trial on appeal.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    You should have stopped there.

    All these armchair lawyers are hilarious....
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2012
    Are you saying the procedure for this request would not allow for her to recuse herself? What I'm saying is she should recuse herself if procedure for such a request would be appropriate. How is that being an "armchair lawyer"? Please enlighten me...
  19. macrumors regular


    May 20, 2013
    The poster doesn't require any qualifications to come to an opinion. The issue is whether or not you'd be willing to pay the poster for their opinion. Considering they gave it away for free already, the point is moot, I believe.
  20. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Do you?

    Apple doesn't complain just for fun. And most people think this judgement against Apple was a complete farce, and that Apple didn't do anything illegal to start with. A judge who wrote a draft of her decision before the trial even started. Which makes Apple's case _very_ credible.

    Are you?

    Says the heckler. Look, you haven't contributed anything of any value here. Others have.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2007
    50k-65k? U call it a salary? Can not afford even toilet paper on this salary. LOL. I hope U and all Apple execs would live on this salary and their spouses and all of off springs for the rest of lives.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 26, 2010
    Apple was convicted. They can appeal but, you're ignoring the fact that they were convicted and proclaiming them innocent. It might be a miscarriage of justice. That's what appeals are for. But I fail to see how Apple was innocent...

    And Apple has an interest here to get as much of the ruling overturned as possible, so any further settlement would be further diminished. I don't give much stock in what Apple says about the matter for obvious reasons. It is like OJ Simpson or Robert Blake saying they're not guilty-that doesn't mean they are or aren't. But it is to say they have situations and have reasons for testifying in the manner they do.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    How exactly? By complaining about poor Apple and how this guy isn't qualified or is charging too much but in reality they probably have no clue.

    I never I did know how much he should charge and also never said I was qualified to make the statements regarding the legality of the case.


    Good point, I would not be willing to pay that poster for that opinion.


    I'm not saying anything or pretending like I know the law like some in this thread.
  24. macrumors 604


    Jan 24, 2008
    Apple wasn't "convicted" of anything. They were found liable in a civil lawsuit brought by the DOJ. It's telling that the DOJ didn't bring a criminal case against them which would have required a much higher burden of proof.
  25. macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I would argue that in the eyes of the consumer it doesn't matter. While there's a difference between civil and criminal cases - all they will "know" is that Apple was guilty of X.

    So I think the true premise of the poster your quoting (and of course this is my assumption) is that some forum members try to assert that Apple is innocent. It's pretty irrelevant. Just like it's irrelevant if Samsung is innocent or not of infringing patents. If the courts say they are, that's what ultimately matters.

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