Apple on Tuesday was given a temporary reprieve from an external monitor meant to oversee its antitrust-compliance after being found guilty of e-book price fixing last July. The reprieve is being put into effect while Apple pursues a formal appeal, which Reuters said could last several months. A three-judge panel is scheduled to hear Apple’s motion for the stay sometime soon; the company is hoping to get rid of the monitor altogether, or at the very least disqualify Michael Bromwich, who has been appointed as the current monitor.
According to Apple, Bromwich has been particularly intrusive, and has been charging an inflated $1,110 per hour for his services; Bromwich has also been seeking interviews with top Apple executives and board members on a regular basis, which the company claims could interfere with development of new products. Bromwich’s job is to monitor Apple and ensure the company is in compliance with the court’s ruling, but Apple feels a U.S. District Judge granted Bromwich too much power. Bromwich has denied Apple’s claims.
“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,” Apple said.
The judge appointed to the e-book case, Judge Denise Cote, said last week that Apple’s resistance to Bromwich’s monitoring is proof the iPhone maker is guilty. “Apple’s reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition,” Cote said.
Apple has a temporary reprieve from Bromwich’s services for now, but the company will have to succeed in appealing last year’s decision if it wants to get rid of the monitor for good. Given Cote’s comments, it sure doesn’t sound like that’ll happen. We’ll see what happens in the coming days.