tim_cook

Adam Tow / Re/code

General


Apple has won a brief respite from the court-appointed antitrust compliance monitor it claims is crawling unnecessarily deeply into its business.

An appellate judge on Tuesday temporarily stayed monitor Michael Bromwich’s oversight of Apple until a federal appeals panel can decide whether or not the stay should be kept in place while the company pursues a formal appeal to oust him.

The temporary stay comes just days after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote rejected Apple’s request to remove Bromwich, the Washington attorney she appointed to oversee the company’s compliance with antitrust law after finding it liable for conspiring with major publishers to raise e-book prices. “If anything, Apple’s reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition,” Cote wrote, dismissing the company’s allegations that rather than an impartial monitor, Bromwich is behaving “like an FBI agent.”

“Whereas this Court intended ‘to rest as lightly as possible on the way Apple runs its business,’ Mr. Bromwich thinks he has a license to ‘crawl into [the] company,’ and as a result continues to demand that Apple ‘take down barriers’ to his access so he can set up shop in Apple’s boardroom and executive offices in Cupertino for two years in order to monitor and change the corporate culture,” Apple said in a Jan. 8 filing demanding Bromwich’s removal.

Now, a federal appeals panel will determine whose argument has more merit.

So a small victory for Apple in its effort to drop the hammer on what it describes as Bromwich’s “roaming” investigation. But how long of a reprieve? The stay of Bromwich’s oversight will stand only until Apple’s request for a permanent stay can be heard. And the appellate judge says that should happen “as soon as possible.”




2 comments
Robotech_Master
Robotech_Master

Wouldn't read too much into this. All it means is the appellate judge thinks it would do less harm to give Apple a temporary stay it doesn't deserve than not to give it one that it does. We won't get to see what they really think until they can hear the actual request for a stay.

mknopp
mknopp

@Robotech_MasterYeah, reading too much into it isn't wise. That being said, it is interesting how quickly and easily the appellate court stayed the decision.


Judge Cotes screwed up, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if she was or wasn't impartial in this case. She has made too many decisions which give the appearance of prejudice and impartiality. And even the appearance of impartiality should be avoided at all cost. 

She should have recused herself when her pre-trial comments created such a furor. (And yes, I know that both sides okayed it, but she should have more sense then to do it.)


Then, to appoint a person who she is a friend with as the monitor? Add to that the fact that the person appointed openly admits that he doesn't have the experience necessary to properly do the job and thus needed to hire someone who did. Wow! Just wow.


Add to that Bromwich's overreaching attempts to deal with people well outside of the eBook business at Apple, and the stated secret meetings between Bromwich and Cotes.


All of this might be perfectly above boards and legal, but add it all together and you have one very unethical and unjust looking going on.

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