Apple Loses Latest Bid To Ditch Antitrust Monitor

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Apple has lost its latest bid to put court-appointed antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich on hold, with a federal appeals court rejecting Apple’s claim that the monitor’s work was causing irreparable harm.

In a brief order, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said that Bromwich (the former U.S. attorney and Justice Department inspector general given the job of ensuring antitrust compliance regarding e-book price fixing) may continue to examine Apple’s antitrust compliance policies, while Apple pursues a broader appeal seeking to remove him altogether.

The court did, however, address Apple’s concerns — and noted that there are clearly defined limits to Bromwich’s powers, in that he is not permitted to personally investigate whether Apple employees are actually complying with antitrust laws, and may only turn over evidence of wrongdoing to the court.

Apple’s relationship with Bromwich has been strained from the very start, with the company objecting to an “unprecedented” legal bill ($138,432 for his first two weeks’ work), in addition to his attempts to access top Apple executives.

Bromwich then hit back by filing a complaint in which he claimed to have been cut off from the people he hoped to speak with, along with experiencing lengthy delays receiving requested information.

Both Apple and Bromwich declined to comment on the latest developments.

A trial is scheduled for May to determine the damages Apple owes in its e-book case, representing consumers from 16 states. According to court documents, the plaintiffs are seeking $840 million.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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