Categories: Global Tech News

Apple Granted Hearing for External Monitor Pardon, Says He’s Too “Intrusive”

Apple isn’t happy about being babysat by a monitor after conspiring to raise e-book prices last year, so it’s seeking a halt to the monitor’s activites while it prepares a formal appeal.

According to Reuters, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York told Apple on Tuesday that it would allow the company a hearing on whether the monitor — Michael Bromwich — should put his duties on hold until Apple is ready with a formal appeal. A three-judge panel is scheduled to conduct the hearing for a stay pending appeal “as soon as possible.”

Bromwich was sent to Apple as a monitor due to a court ruling last July that found Apple guilty of conspiring to raise e-book prices. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote handed down the ruling, saying that consumers and competitors were negatively affected by the arrangement Apple had with five book publishers. The publishers were Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing France), Harper Collins (News Corp., U.S.A.), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., U.S.A.), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany).

Michael Bromwich [SOURCE: The New York Times]
Judge Cote suggested that an external monitor be used to review Apple’s internal antitrust compliance program and recommend any changes a month after the July 2013 ruling. 

However, Apple is trying to fight off Bromwich’s watchful eye. The tech giant said Bromwich is too “intrusive” and could interfere with Apple’s ability to create new products. It also said that Bromwich is charging Apple far too much for his services — about $1,100 per hour to be exact. 

“The monitorship should never have been imposed in the first place, and the burden and intrusion the monitor is imposing on Apple cannot be remedied after the fact if the company prevails on appeal,” said Apple. 

However, Judge Cote sees Apple’s complaints the way a parent sees their child when they cry after doing something wrong and is being punished. In other words, Apple is mad that it was caught acting out-of-line, and doesn’t want to pay the consequences. 

“If anything, Apple’s reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition,” said Judge Cote.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has until January 24 to file opposition papers, if it so chooses. 

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