DoJ accuses Apple of 'character assassination' in e-book monitor feud
Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 3:50pm
| Apple has "chosen a campaign of character assassination over a culture of compliance" with regard to court-appointed monitor Michael Bromwich, and is missing an opportunity to "change its corporate tone," the US Department of Justice complains in a new letter to the court handling the DoJ v. Apple e-book case. Bromwich was appointed by US District Judge Denise Cote last year to ensure that Apple followed imposed pricing and contract terms. Apple has accused Bromwich of immediately launching a roving investigation, despite having a narrower task set to start 90 days after his appointment; the company also objects to his $1,100-an-hour billing rate, and having to pay for a second lawyer hired by Bromwich due to his own inexperience with antitrust cases. Last week, Apple filed a formal request to remove him.
The Wall Street Journal has argued that Bromwich is a "greenhorn" and was appointed due to being a personal friend of Cote. Both the Justice Department and Bromwich have protested, the latter in the form of a letter submitted earlier this week, stating that he has no professional or financial interests impacting his objectivity. The DoJ's new letter includes emails from Bromwich, used as evidence that he has been reasonable.
In 2013 Cote ruled that Apple had conspired with publishers to fix the prices of e-books, mainly in an attempt to undermine Amazon. Since the verdict, prices have indeed dropped in some cases. Apple is appealing the ruling.