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Apple gets temporary reprieve from external antitrust monitor; should it be a permanent one?

Apple has been temporarily spared the presence of an external antitrust monitor, initially placed at the company as part of the judgment in the U.S. government's case against Apple regarding ebooks. Apple has been fighting to remove the monitor, Michael Bromwich, since he was placed at the company last summer. The company believes that Bromwich is a disruptive and unnecessary imposition, according to Reuters:

Apple has complained that Bromwich has been too intrusive, including by seeking interviews with top executives and board members, and has been charging an inflated $1,100 per hour for his services to rack up high fees.

Do you think that the monitor should be removed, or is he necessary to ensure that Apple doesn't violate antitrust regulations? Sound off in the comments below.

Source: Reuters

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • To answer the headline question: Yes.
  • Yes I agree.
  • Yes. Sent from the iMore App
  • My opinion from what I know? Yes. This case has been a joke from the get go. I think what will ultimately happen is that a different monitor, with a more limited power (less than Bromwich was supposed to have) and a shorter term, and a more reasonable rate.
  • Given how many companies Apple and Google pick up on a weekly basis, and that eBook prices are still disgustingly inflated, both companies should have an extended anti-trust inquiry. The only reason Apple had one is because they got caught. These companies can afford it. Posted via the Android iMore app
  • Can you explain how, just because a company (or individual) "can afford it", that they are exempt from being treated fairly under the law? So Apple could afford to pay this guy $5,000 an hour. Should they? Is that reasonable? I don't see how ability to pay has any bearing on what a reasonable fee is. Who ultimately pays these fees? We do. So I can't balance the mindset that is happy with things like this.
  • Yes, and investigated reference the fees. $1,100.00 an hour is criminal. No one is worth that much. How much of that fee does he keep, and how much goes back to the government? Something very fishy here.
  • $1100.00 for him, then another $1100.00 for contracted group.. total of $2200/hour if both his firm and contacted firm are working at same time actually. Edit: I'm not sure that rate actually per person.. I believe its per firm; not been able to verify. So 2,10, or 20 people might be working as monitor. Unsure on that. Apple is a large company.. would be unlikely to just have 1 person, realistically, do it alone.
  • Absolutely. This case is an absolute joke, and I won't be surprised if the entire thing is vacated on appeal.
  • Yes. However unlike other commenters, I don't think the case was a joke, and I broadly agree with the decision. Still, the monitor seems like a particularly useless man who is operating, in part, out of personal malice. That's nonsense. Sent from the iMore App
  • I am with you 100% on the case being a joke. I think the trial was a joke, the sentence was a joke, and can realistically see this being vacated as the ruling was completely inappropriate.
  • Given how egregious Apple was in their lack of respect and/or knowledge of antitrust law, they should probably keep a monitor as Apple has shown no indication they have learned from past mistakes. I see no problem with getting someone who charges a cheaper rate though.
  • No. They induced competitors to cooperate to the detriment of consumers - and publicly declared so. If this decision is overturned, it means that anti-competitive regulations have no meaning. Sent from the iMore App
  • After reading a lot concerning this case, I agree with Apple that their part in any price-fixing conspiracy is conjecture and false. However, in order to take the highroad, and until they get the decision overturned, they should cooperate with a monitor if just to send the message that they do not believe they are above the Court. That said, the monitor selected by the judge has been a complete train-wreck and has been mishandled by the judge with their closed-door meetings, invoice issues, and preexisting relationship (to name a few) that now the Court looks like it is abusing its power. A new monitor is necessary and, at this time, the judge should probably step down.
  • For those who are interested, a lot more information about the case and quite a lot of debate is available on the Mobileread forums, here: Worth a read, though it is a LONG thread.
  • Yes... Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes and no. Book publishers have always dictated retail pricing for their books; it's not Apple who needs a compliance monitor, it's the publishing industry in general.
    But if the judge is going to reinstate a monitor, it should be someone who is not there in an adversarial capacity, as Bromwich has been. It should be someone who the Judge and Apple can agree upon as being unbiased and fair.