Let’s ring in the new year with some news on the Apple antitrust case. Earlier this week Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reported on a couple of matters pertaining to the case. First, Judge Cote turned down Apple’s request to have more time to depose Stanford economist Roger Noll, who was responsible for coming up with the damage figure of $307 million Apple is being hit with at the trial. Judge Cote did say Apple can file a sur-reply stating its objections.
The more interesting news, though, has to do with the lawyers for the Department of Justice and the state and consumer classes involved in the case filing their response to Apple’s request for a stay of the order pending resolution of its complaints about the court’s antitrust monitor, Michael Bromwich. The trouble arose, at least in part, from Bromwich’s request to interview Apple’s top execs, and Apple’s insistence that he shouldn’t need to do that. As you might expect, the plaintiffs’ attorneys weren’t impressed.
“Stripped of its blustery rhetoric and personal attacks, Apple’s motion is about its desire to shield its highest-level executives and Board members from the perceived inconvenience of having to sit for these interviews,” the brief states. “There is nothing improper about Mr. Bromwich’s request to interview the people with ultimate responsibility for overseeing Apple’s compliance with the law, nor is there anything remarkable about any action that Mr. Bromwich has undertaken in connection with his role as External Compliance Monitor.”
Christopher M. Matthews writes in the Wall Street Journal:
On Monday, Mr. Bromwich said he routinely met with top management at the three organizations he previously monitored and had "never before had a request for a meeting or interview in a monitoring assignment rejected or even deferred."
"This is far less access than I have ever received during a comparable period of time in the three other monitorships I have conducted," Mr. Bromwich said.
I find myself wondering, just a bit, why it is that nobody else seems to have picked up on the Wall Street Journal editorial from a few weeks back alleging that, as old friends, Bromwich and Judge Cote might have a conflict of interest. You’d think that if there was anything of substance to it, Apple would latch onto it as another excuse to complain, wouldn’t you?
We’ll know more in a couple of weeks, I suppose. Judge Cote will hold a hearing on the matter on January 13th.