Is Apple’s independent anti-trust monitor, Michael Bromwich, overreaching, as we reported Apple claimed last week? Not according to the Department of Justice. Andrew Albanese reports in Publishers Weekly on a recent letter to the court from the DoJ. U.S. attorney Lawrence Buterman accused Apple of trumping up concerns over the monitor in order to help make a case for a stay on the order pending its appeal.
“The United States and Plaintiff States have reviewed Apple’s filings, and have spoken on multiple occasions with both Apple and Mr. Bromwich concerning Apple’s objections,” Buterman wrote. “Based on our review, Mr. Bromwich’s actions to date have been wholly within the scope of his authority under the Final Judgment, and at all times appropriate and consistent with his impeccable reputation.”
When DoJ officials attempted to discuss Apple’s concerns, Buterman said, Apple just wanted to talk about its “broader ‘constitutional’ and other concerns with the trial and the imposition of a monitor,” rather than what it saw as the monitor’s role. And, he said, Apple has also disregarded (and didn’t even mention to the court) Bromwich’s attempt to reach out to resolve any misunderstandings.
Judge Cote already denied Apple a stay once, back in August. She’s going to rule soon on Apple’s most recent request, but based on previous rulings, if I were Apple I would not be holding my breath.
At this point, it is too early to tell how this is going to come out. We pretty clearly can’t take anything Apple says at face value. They have been found guilty of illegal collusion. As such, they are being justly punished, but they will fight that punishment tooth and nail, every step of the way, with every resource at their disposal. And that includes complaining vociferously about everything the anti-trust monitor does. That does not necessarily mean their complaints have no merit, but it will make it a lot harder to tell if they do because they don’t think they should have to put up with a compliance monitor at all.
This is not going to be over until Apple has exhausted its appeals. It may well go all the way to the Supreme Court. Either way, I’ll bet Judge Cote will heave a deep sigh of relief when she has finally gotten this case out of her court and passed on to the next level of the judiciary.