Apple Loses Latest Bid to Stall eBook Antitrust Monitor
Apple’s hopes to block the court-appointed antitrust monitor were dashed today in NYC. A 3 judge appeals court panel has ruled that the monitor may continue to with his duties while Apple files their appeal.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York did not find Apple’s claims of irreparable harm to be plausible, and instead issued a short ruling that found that Michael Bromwich may continue to examine Apple’s antitrust compliance policies while the company pursues a broader appeal seeking to overturn the case which they lost in July 2013.
This decision is the latest in a string of court defeats that Apple has suffered since it was initially accused of antitrust violations in 2012. At that time the US Dept of Justice, along with the attorneys general for 50 states, accused Apple of conspiring with 5 major US publishers to raise ebook prices in the US ebook market and prevent ebook retailers from competing on price.
The 5 publishers (HarperCollins, S&S, Penguin, Hachette, and Macmillan) all chose to settle before the case went to trial, but Apple decided to defend itself in court. Apple lost the case, and as part of the settlement with the DOJ which restricted its ability to control the iBooks. The judge also decided to appoint an antitrust monitor whose job would be to make sure that Apple was adopting policies which would ensure that Apple doesn’t break the law again.
Michael Bromwich was appointed by Judge Denise Cote as the antitrust monitor in late 2013, after he had been on the job for only a couple weeks Apple started complaining to the DOJ and to Judge Cote that he was being intrusive, was charging too much, and was generally a bother.
After a few rounds with the DOJ and Judge Cote, those complaints eventually resulted in Apple filing for an appeal several weeks ago. Apple attempted to go over Judge Cote’s head and get the appeals court to block the antitrust monitor while Apple filed an appealed to overturn the case they lost.
And Apple lost – for the most part. The judges did put limits on Bromwich’s activities; he’s limited to assessing Apple’s compliance policies and its efforts to disseminate those policies to its workers, and is not allowed to actively investigate whether Apple employees are complying with antitrust laws.
Apple has lost almost every single major fight they picked ever since the trial began last June. I don’t know about you but now would seem to be a good time to simply cooperate and get on with their business of inventing the next hot gadget.
Apple being Apple, how much do you want to bet that they won’t stop fighting?
image by lulugal0870