Apple feud tenses up with court-appointed monitor

A feud between Apple and a lawyer appointed by a federal court judge to monitor the company's e-book pricing reform has grown bitter

Apple is facing strong opposition from the U.S. in its bid to block an antitrust monitor appointed in an e-books pricing case from interviewing top executives including Apple CEO Tim Cook and board member Al Gore.

Apple’s monitor, Michael Bromwich, said in court documents that Apple's characterization of his team's activities as a "roving investigation bear no relation to the activities we have attempted to conduct.” In an 11-page document, Bromwich described repeated alleged efforts by Apple to block interviews between him and senior executives, as well as the company's failure to turn over documents.

Over the past several months, Apple and Bromwich have been butting heads. In fact, back in November, Apple said Bromwich, a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP and a former inspector general at the Justice Department, had stepped beyond the scope of his appointment by operating in an inappropriate manner and was overcharging the company, citing a $138,432.40 charge for his two weeks of work.

In addition, Apple asked Manhattan U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to halt Bromwich's oversight of the company pending the company's appeal of Judge Cote's antitrust judgment against the company. He ruled that Apple colluded with five major U.S. publishers to drive up the prices of e-books, a verdict Apple has said it plans to appeal. According to the Justice Department, halting Bromwich's work would go against the public's interested in preventing further antitrust violations by Apple.

Earlier this week, Bromwich said he has met with top management at the organizations he previously monitored and had never had a request for a meeting in a monitoring assignment rejected. "This is far less access than I have ever received during a comparable period of time in the three other monitorships I have conducted," he said in a statement.

According to the emails filed by Bromwich, his relationship with Apple was rocky from the start. After Bromwich sent Kyle Andeer, Apple's director of competition law, an email detailing his rates, the gaps between the two party's expectations came into focus.

Bromwich wrote to Andeer, "Unfortunately, I think you may have misconceived its purpose. It was not to begin a negotiation about fees, rates, and expenses, nor was it meant to provide you with an opportunity to provide us with guidelines.”


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Contributing Author

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Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Freelance Journalist for InsideCounsel, where she covers intellectual property, legal technology, patent litigation, cybersecurity, innovation, and more. She earned a B.A....

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