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Apple requests removal of external antitrust compliance monitor

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
In a letter submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote on Tuesday, Apple asks for the removal of court-appointed antitrust compliance monitor Michael Bromwich from his post, citing the monitor's recent declaration chastising Apple's supposed lack of cooperation.

Bromwich


The letter, filed on behalf of Apple by lawfirm Gibson Dunn, calls out Bromwich over his late-December declaration to the court in which he rebuked Apple's actions up to this point and denied claims of an unconstitutional, wide-roving inspection.

Apple asserts that by filing the declaration, Bromwich raised red flags as to his impartiality in the ongoing monitorship, possibly suggesting personal bias against the company.

His wholly inappropriate declaration in an adversarial proceeding is compounded by his conduct and the circumstances surrounding his appointment and activities, including his reliance on preappointment conversations with the Court and plaintiffs as grounds for expanding his mandate beyond the terms of the Final Judgment, his active collaboration with plaintiffs to broaden the scope of his mandate in this manner and oppose Apple's motion for stay, his financial demands, and his adversarial, inquisitorial, and prosecutorial communications and activities toward Apple since his appointment.


Apple goes on to restate that Bromwich overstepped his bounds on multiple occasions, saying the ECM views himself as "unconstrained by the federal rules governing discovery and other matters, and acting like an independent prosecutor not a judge."

Here, the company cites multiple requests to interview senior executives and board members who have no role in day-to-day operations, let alone the iBookstore, which was targeted in the Department of Justice's e-book price-fixing case.

The third point raised by Apple again points to Bromwich's direct contact with company employees, which is contrary to the Final Judgment's stipulation against interviews without legal counsel. Finally, Apple takes issue with the monitor's fee structure, which it considers to be excessive and outside the bounds of Judge Cote's ruling. It came to light in November that Bromwich was requiring $138,000 for what was then two-weeks' worth of work.

Apple and Bromwich have been feuding almost since the former Justice Department Inspector General was assigned to his monitorship. Today's letter just adds to the already substantial number of court filings illustrating the back-and-forth between Apple and its court-assigned ECM.

The next scheduled court appearance for Apple will be oral arguments of the company's motion to stay the investigation pending its appeal of Judge Cote's Final Judgment. The DoJ will argue against, citing the public interest lies in keeping Apple from entering further illegal deals. Both parties are slated to meet in court on Jan. 13.

post #2 of 63
Hell hath no fury like Apple scorned
post #3 of 63
Oh well, Apple doesn't want to pay to play. So happy that Apple says NO to the government. As a share holder I hate it though.
post #4 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post

LOL

Only frothing-at-the-mouth Apple fanatics defend a multi-billion company's right to overcharge its customers. 

Do you actually want to pay more for ebooks?

from http://business.time.com/2013/07/10/apple-found-guilty-in-e-book-price-fixing-conspiracy-trial/
"Asked by the reporter why consumers would pay $14.99 to Apple to purchase an e-book that was selling at Amazon for $9.99, Jobs replied, “Well, that won’t be the case.” The reporter then asked, “You mean you won’t be 14.99 or they won’t be 9.99?” Jobs paused, and “with a knowing nod” responded, “The price will be the same.”"

The point that keeps getting missed is in what Steve said in your quote. It was not guaranteed that the prices would go up, only that Apple would get the same sell through price as the competitors. It could have driven prices down, but the publishers pushed them up and that is why they settled. The publishers had pricing control and raised the prices.
post #5 of 63

Not how it works, Apple. You don't get to remove the monitor because you don't like what he's saying.

post #6 of 63
Really? An ebook should not cost more than $4?? The author, editor, publisher, legal, advertisement can not possibly be compensated or recovered off of $4 depending the content.

 

 

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post #7 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post

 

What really needs to happen though is the world's governments looking into Apple's iTunes (music) business -- if that is not a monopoly then I don't know what is...

I think it's the latter (you don't know what a monopoly is).  There is very little on the iTunes music store that I can't purchase from dozens (hundreds?) of other outlets.

post #8 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Really? An ebook should not cost more than $4?? The author, editor, publisher, legal, advertisement can not possibly be compensated or recovered off of $4 depending the content.

Maybe in his world view no one is supposed to be compensated.  Authors should write for the joy of it, and everyone else should do their part at minimum expense to make those works available to everyone.  

post #9 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satorical View Post
 

Not how it works, Apple. You don't get to remove the monitor because you don't like what he's saying.

Fortunately in a system of laws, you do get to ask for relief when you believe someone is acting inappropriately.  I expect Apple will lose this (trivial) battle, but I can't blame them for not putting up with his crap.

post #10 of 63
First off, amazon prices are not real world prices. The price on the back of the book is. You'll find that amazon sells for a loss or razor thin margins to obtain market share. It's actually poisonous to the economy and can hurt thriving businesses that well books and other goods.

With that being said, it is ultimately up to the publisher how much the prices should be and whether you get a free ebook with a tangible book. Many don't want physical books anymore and only want ebooks. The ebook is still work done by someone. Work that must recoup costs or pay for the time spent producing the work. Authors need to be able to get paid for their time invested.

Educational books, non-fiction, etc all need a lot of verification and take quite a bit of time to not charge for the ebooks.

 

 

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post #11 of 63
The problem isn't amazon going bankrupt, it's all the other businesses and book companies that can't afford to do that. Walmart did the same tactics to local economies. In the end fewer choices because prices were artificially dropped gives fewer choices at a later date because they can afford to do it.

When fewer books are produced because the margins are too thin to put risk in an upcoming author, we all lose

 

 

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post #12 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post
 

 

Odd though, now that the government is keeping an eye on Apple's ebook shenanigans, the ebook prices on Amazon have come down again (they are still too high though, no ebook ought to cost more than $4).

 

What really needs to happen though is the world's governments looking into Apple's iTunes (music) business -- if that is not a monopoly then I don't know what is...

 

Amazon has always operated on the premise that they are willing to lose money because they have the latitude from the market to do so. They buy the e-books at wholesale like everyone else and then lose money on each transaction because they can. Most businesses don't have that freedom (smaller retailers) or aren't willing to lose money (Apple). Jeff Bezos has go so far as to say "The Internet is disrupting every media industry, Charlie, you know, people can complain about that, but complaining is not a strategy. And Amazon is not happening to book selling, the future is happening to book selling." Amazon popularized e-books and their kindle readers are great products but on the retail side of it, they don't care about what ramifications there are to anyone. Whether it is devaluing creative work or stomping on smaller retailers. They take the freedom that shareholders give them and undercut everyone in a way that most can't compete on. I deal with retail almost daily, including dealing with selling product into retail channels, and it's a tough business. When a competitor is willing to operate on razor thin margins or at a loss, it's hard, if not impossible, to compete. We haven't even talked about the numerous complaints about how they operate their warehouses.

 

Amazon is no saint and by the tone of your comments, they didn't do anything wrong. The prices went down because Amazon is back to their old tactics of losing money. Apple's gross margins dip a few percentage points and the market loses its damn mind. Amazon loses money in a quarter and their stock goes up. It is a weird dynamic that no matter how much I know about the world, it still doesn't make sense to me. With regards to this case, the publishers are inherently the ones to blame. The whole case still seems whacky to me. Beyond that, this compliance monitor over-stepped with his requests but due to well publicized ties to the judge, he felt he could do whatever he wanted. At one point the judge even backed down from certain requests because they started to gain unwanted scrutiny. The judge started distancing herself a bit from the monitor.

 

Do I think Apple always does right, no, but I also don't think that they were in the wrong.  Ultimately, I don't even think the monitoring should even start until the case has been put in front of the appellant court. We will see how this turns out but to think that this isn't on some level a bit shady is weird to me.

 

As a side note, I think Amazon does a lot of cool stuff, including AWS. I just think we have to try and look at things realistically.

post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post


What really needs to happen though is the world's governments looking into Apple's iTunes (music) business -- if that is not a monopoly then I don't know what is...

It's not.

That said, there are some ridiculous moves with. All media. Exclusive deals, insane pricing on movies etc.

But they need to be industry wide, not targeting one company. What's good for the goose is good for Amazon. I mean the gander

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post #14 of 63

- Ah so. 'that's not how it works'. yadda yadda.

Then, as one omniscient in these matters, would you care to come down below and enlighten us poor common folk here as to 'how exactly it does work', then?...

 

Detailed, please.

 

I reserve my right to yawn at what you may come up with though.

 

well...?

post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


It's not.

That said, there are some ridiculous moves with. All media. Exclusive deals, insane pricing on movies etc.

But they need to be industry wide, not targeting one company. What's good for the goose is good for Amazon. I mean the gander

 

It is a slippery slope. After working in the entertainment industry for what felt like an eternity, I can tell you that content deals are black holes. There are so many layers to them and everyone wants a piece of the pie. There needs to be some oversight but unfortunately a lot of the issues that are at play are political in nature. Who's willing to stroke which ego can dictate policy, even if it is an unfair outcome.

 

Looking at the Apple case, Amazon came out gangbusters, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was primarily politically motivated.

post #16 of 63

Yes. Because they are higher quality and offered a better experience than Amazon. You are not overcharged if you've agreed to pay and have a choice to shop elsewhere.

post #17 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post

Odd though, now that the government is keeping an eye on Apple's ebook shenanigans, the ebook prices on Amazon have come down again (they are still too high though, no ebook ought to cost more than $4).

You're a moron and have NO IDEA what you're talking about. The prices came down BEFORE the ruling against Apple. They came down AFTER the publishers settled with the DOJ out of court.
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post #18 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post
 

What really needs to happen though is the world's governments looking into Apple's iTunes (music) business -- if that is not a monopoly then I don't know what is...

The latest figures, just came out yesterday: Apple sells 40.6% of U.S. albums. That's the market for new albums, and doesn't include used CD sales (a big business), or streaming music subscriptions. Apple sells 63% of paid music downloads (of course, that doesn't include CD sales or subscriptions). That's a monopoly? I buy well over a hundred CDs a year, and maybe 10 downloaded albums from Apple. That's a monopoly?

 

Amazon had 90% of the ebook market, and was threatening publishers that they would stop selling their books if publishers didn't give them special pricing . Tell me again - which one is a monopoly?

post #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post

Odd though, now that the government is keeping an eye on Apple's ebook shenanigans, the ebook prices on Amazon have come down again (they are still too high though, no ebook ought to cost more than $4).

Why pay four bucks when you can get them free as torrents or steal real copies from a library.
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post #20 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post

When various governments punished Microsoft for including IE with Windows, other browsers were available...


Isn't this the same as with iPhone (the number one selling smartphone in the US) and iTunes (the application) and iTunes songs?

Actually it is worse, Microsoft "bundled" OS + browser, but Apple "bundles" hardware + OS + iTunes + iTunes songs.

iTunes on Windows, Samsung and other company provided sync software.

You were saying?
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post #21 of 63
In my VERY humble opinion it looks like this chap is actually working for/reporting to Samsung.....
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post
 

What really needs to happen though is the world's governments looking into Apple's iTunes (music) business -- if that is not a monopoly then I don't know what is...

 

Damn, if only I had known that when buying music from Linn & Amazon for my iPhone in the last few weeks!!  /s

post #23 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post
 

 

When various governments punished Microsoft for including IE with Windows, other browsers were available...

 

Isn't this the same as with iPhone (the number one selling smartphone in the US) and iTunes (the application) and iTunes songs?

 

Actually it is worse, Microsoft "bundled" OS + browser, but Apple "bundles" hardware + OS + iTunes + iTunes songs.

I thought you were just playing dumb to drum up a conversation, but you really don't know and you're not playing. 

 

MS wasn't punished for including IE with Windows. MS was found guilty of abusing their monopoly because they made it difficult to install other browsers. If you weren't careful after installing another company browser, IE could end up as your default browser. Even if you never installed IE because IE came pre-installed and the user could not uninstall it. And it's no secret that MS would keep updating their Java (javascript) codes and only after the fact would inform other browsers of it. So to Windows users, other browsers always seems "buggy". 

 

Having the lion share of the market only in the US does not a monopoly make. As long as Android keep touting that they are 80% of the World cell phone market, Apple do not have to worry about becoming a monopoly with the iPhone (and iOS) for quit a while.

 

Microsoft Windows is a monopoly, Apple OSX is not. Different rules for monopoly. I'm hoping for the day that Apple will have to follow the same rules the MS does. But with OSX being less than 10% of the World computer market, I may not live that long. 

post #24 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

Yes. Because they are higher quality and offered a better experience than Amazon. You are not overcharged if you've agreed to pay and have a choice to shop elsewhere.

If that's the case then why push for the same price?
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post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

If that's the case then why push for the same price?

Ostensibly because it removes the price factor from the equation. The assumption is that a consumer will [almost] always opt for what they deem the 'better' product/service/experience when price is not a consideration. Apple has long targeted (and attracted) buyers that favor perceived quality over price (or at least don't weight the price tag too heavily in their purchasing decisions), so it stands to reason that if they can take the dollar cost issue off the table, then they can likely attract an even wider audience.

post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodGrief View Post

Ostensibly because it removes the price factor from the equation. The assumption is that a consumer will [almost] always opt for what they deem the 'better' product/service/experience when price is not a consideration. Apple has long targeted (and attracted) buyers that favor perceived quality over price (or at least don't weight the price tag too heavily in their purchasing decisions), so it stands to reason that if they can take the dollar cost issue off the table, then they can likely attract an even wider audience.

Sorry but I don't buy that. Apple has made a lot of money on that 'assumption', at this point they know people will pay more for a better product. I believe that in this case the 'product' isn't of a much higher quality than the competitors, and since Apple didn't set the price this time around like they did with music their next best choice was to get the competition to the price they preferred.
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post #27 of 63
Funny seeing all the new trolls on AI the last week or so.

Surely they sprang from under the Golden Gate, as no normal bridge would be large enough to contain them.

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post #28 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satorical View Post

Not how it works, Apple. You don't get to remove the monitor because you don't like what he's saying.

Not how it works Bromwich. You're not allowed to question Apple employees that aren't involved in eBooks nor are you allowed to discuss issues that were not part of the original trial.

There, fixed it for you.

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post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post
 

 

If most paperbacks cost $8 to $10 on Amazon, then $4 would be a reasonable ebook price (and a ebook version should come for free with every hardcover or paperback purchase).

 

Thank you Apple! Not.


You can't compare it to paperbacks. Paperbacks aren't released until well after the hardcover sales while ebooks are released when the hardcover edition is. The publishers, authors, editors need to make money and a $4 ebook won't. Producing, storing, and shipping of the hardcovers are only a small fraction of the cost of the book ($3.25 for a book that costs around $26)

post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidW View Post
 

I thought you were just playing dumb to drum up a conversation, but you really don't know and you're not playing. 

 

MS wasn't punished for including IE with Windows. MS was found guilty of abusing their monopoly because they made it difficult to install other browsers. If you weren't careful after installing another company browser, IE could end up as your default browser. Even if you never installed IE because IE came pre-installed and the user could not uninstall it. And it's no secret that MS would keep updating their Java (javascript) codes and only after the fact would inform other browsers of it. So to Windows users, other browsers always seems "buggy". 

 

Having the lion share of the market only in the US does not a monopoly make. As long as Android keep touting that they are 80% of the World cell phone market, Apple do not have to worry about becoming a monopoly with the iPhone (and iOS) for quit a while.

 

Microsoft Windows is a monopoly, Apple OSX is not. Different rules for monopoly. I'm hoping for the day that Apple will have to follow the same rules the MS does. But with OSX being less than 10% of the World computer market, I may not live that long. 

 

Agreed.  And the rest of analogy makes just as much sense (none).  Apple selling (DRM-free!) music though iTunes is as an "troubling" as if Honda started selling gasoline at its dealerships.  When Apple first started selling music that only played on Apple devices, you could make the case that it was problematic from the perspective of using their strength in one market to compete "unfairly" in another market.  But... you have to concede that Apple pushed the music industry to drop DRM not the other way around.  This would be like MS insisting that MS Office by default saves to RDF and other non-propietary formats.  Apple's the good guy here.  They both saved the music industry from piracy and restrictive DRM.  And make money doing so.  Well done.

post #31 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Funny seeing all the new trolls on AI the last week or so.

Surely they sprang from under the Golden Gate, as no normal bridge would be large enough to contain them.

It happens several times a year usually after a major tech event. There should be a probationary period and if their posts are nothing but hateful nonsense then the account should be automatically and permanently closed not temporarily banned.
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post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post


You can't compare it to paperbacks. Paperbacks aren't released until well after the hardcover sales while ebooks are released when the hardcover edition is. The publishers, authors, editors need to make money and a $4 ebook won't. Producing, storing, and shipping of the hardcovers are only a small fraction of the cost of the book ($3.25 for a book that costs around $26)

I could see a $4-6 price point on older books, say 10 plus years and of which a physical copy is not easy to come by. I also think releasing the ebook at the same time as the hardcover is a mistake.
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post #33 of 63
Keep in mind, Jobs' goal was to get the price of textbooks down. That's where the 14.99 price point comes in. Textbooks that sold for 100 dollars or more would now be $14.99 and NYT garbage best sellers would increase from 9.99 to 12.99.

I believe it laudable what Steve was trying to do. He was trying to get the price way down on textbooks.

$14.99 Physics textbook, or $9.99 Fifty Shades of Grey? You decide. Thank you DOJ and Amazon, job well done.
post #34 of 63
I hope Apple wins this, not because I want to spend more to buy books. I simply don't want a company that has no profit motive, Amazon, to put people out of business who do have one. I don't hate Amazon, but clearly they are using predatory pricing, by selling goods below their own wholesale cost. The cost of e-commerce that is involved is not even included in this effort. They are trying to put all other book sellers out of business. That is bad for everyone: Buyers lose an open market, publishers go out of business because Amazon dictates their prices, and Authors have less choice about where to sell their goods.

The reason Apple got in trouble for fixing prices is the government ignored Amazon's predatory prices. This is just not any way in agreement with current legal precedent. Apple deserved to lose the original decision if only for how arrogantly Steve Jobs was when they were negotiating this. On appeal they will win unless there is some crazy new precedent involved.
post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macnewsjunkie View Post

The reason Apple got in trouble for fixing prices is the government ignored Amazon's predatory prices.

That is no longer the case, Amazon can't sell ebooks at a loss since the ruling.
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post #36 of 63
I'm with Apple on this, but not because of how I feel about the company. Anytime a judge makes prejudicial statements before hearing a case, as in this one, his or her rulings should be overturned. Allowing this clown to extend the scope of his questionable mandate goes well beyond anything that should be allowed to happen.
post #37 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post

When various governments punished Microsoft for including IE with Windows, other browsers were available...


Isn't this the same as with iPhone (the number one selling smartphone in the US) and iTunes (the application) and iTunes songs?

Actually it is worse, Microsoft "bundled" OS + browser, but Apple "bundles" hardware + OS + iTunes + iTunes songs.

Where have you been hiding all these years? You're quickly becoming the biggest troll on this site.

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post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post
 

 

Odd though, now that the government is keeping an eye on Apple's ebook shenanigans, the ebook prices on Amazon have come down again (they are still too high though, no ebook ought to cost more than $4).

 

What really needs to happen though is the world's governments looking into Apple's iTunes (music) business -- if that is not a monopoly then I don't know what is...

My hunch is that you don't know what a monopoly is.  But even if you do, you apparently don't know that monopolies are not illegal.  It's what many companies strive for and a few companies achieve.  It only becomes illegal if you leverage that monopoly in illegal ways to stifle competition.  For example, if a company has a monopoly in a specific market, then they are not allowed to price those products at a loss in order to prevent new entries to market.

 

This is called predatory pricing, and here is a Wikipedia page that describes it...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing

 

Amazon Kindle Store.  That's right.  Amazon was paying the publishers a lot more than they were charging the consumers in order to prevent new competition from entering the market.  Amazon was already engaged in illegal monopolistic behavior, and there was no way Apple (or anybody else for that matter) could compete without the agreement that the publishers price their Apple iBooks as low as any other retailer.  Without that agreement, customers would have simply continued buying from Amazon (at predatory pricing) and nobody else.  But the justice department fixated only on price differential pre and post iBooks.  Why didn't they focus on the increase in consumer choice (many eBooks vendors exist and are surviving now) along with the fact that prices pre-iBooks were at predatory levels?

 

The fact that prices rose was clearly predictable under the circumstances, because the publishers otherwise would have had to accept a lot less from Apple than they were currently getting from Amazon.  Apple surely knew it would probably turn out this way, but that doesn't make it illegal.  In fact, Apple's action was the natural remedy for Amazon's illegal pricing.

 

Of course, once the publishers met with each other and actually colluded to set that price (without Apple present) then that action is bad on them.  They should have independently set the prices they needed to run their business and then adjusted when they saw how the other publishers were acting/reacting.

 

Thompson


Edited by thompr - 1/8/14 at 8:02am
post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DalShabet View Post
 

LOL

 

Only frothing-at-the-mouth Apple fanatics defend a multi-billion company's right to overcharge its customers. 

 

Do you actually want to pay more for ebooks?

 

from http://business.time.com/2013/07/10/apple-found-guilty-in-e-book-price-fixing-conspiracy-trial/

"Asked by the reporter why consumers would pay $14.99 to Apple to purchase an e-book that was selling at Amazon for $9.99, Jobs replied, “Well, that won’t be the case.” The reporter then asked, “You mean you won’t be 14.99 or they won’t be 9.99?” Jobs paused, and “with a knowing nod” responded, “The price will be the same.”"

 

In other words, Jobs said that the price would be about the same as Amazon's. Only frothing-at-the-mouth control freaks would defend the government's use of anti-trust law to protect Amazon's monopoly.

post #40 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Where have you been hiding all these years? You're quickly becoming the biggest troll on this site.

Instead of calling him a troll why don't you educate him on how and why it's different? Don't always assume that a post like this is purposely meant to incite.
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AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple requests removal of external antitrust compliance monitor