Report alleges iBooks antitrust monitor has committed 'major abuse' against Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2015
A scathing critique of Michael Bromwich, the lawyer overseeing Apple after it lost an iBooks antitrust lawsuit, alleges that he has unfairly billed the company some $2.65 million for investigative practices that have gone well beyond the initial intent of his role.

Bromwich


Calling Bromwich's approach "major abuse even by the standards of modern antitrust," The Wall Street Journal's opinion page this week slammed the antitrust monitor in an editorial. The newspaper suggested that if Apple wins its upcoming appeal of the antitrust ruling, it should sue Bromwich for his investigation.

Bromwich's efforts have cost Apple more than $2.65 million --?money charged for his services in monitoring the iPad maker. The Journal scoured through his invoices, and found that Bromwich's investigation frequently delved into subjects that had very little or nothing at all to do with the iBooks antitrust suit.

Bromwich's role is supposed to focus on antitrust compliance and training measures, but the Journal's investigation concluded that the attorney "has been stumbling all around Cupertino to conduct a roving, unfettered inquisition into Apple's business."

Specifically, Bromwich reportedly used his position to look into Apple's Siri, Maps, and hardware engineering groups, none of which are related to the e-book antitrust lawsuit.

Summation
Apple's closing slide in its e-book antitrust case. | Source: U.S. District Court


And while the monitor overseeing the aftermath of an antitrust suit is supposed to be an impartial party, Bromwich also billed Apple for hours he spent with the Department of Justice and state Attorneys General. One of his meetings with the DOJ was related to Apple's efforts to have Bromwich removed.

"In other words, he wasn't acting as a neutral court officer but as an agent of the prosecution --?and then charging Apple for his trouble," the editorial states. "Mr. Bromwich bills at $1,100 an hour. Apple can be forgiven for seeing him as an adversary and an interloper, because he is."

This week's editorial isn't the first time the Journal has taken Bromwich, the justice system, and Judge Denise Cote to task. In late 2013, the newspaper's opinion page lambasted all parties for being "abusive" and "shredding the separation of constitutional powers." The paper has repeatedly noted close ties between Cote and Bromwich.

Apple and Bromwich have also butted heads, culminating in the aforementioned official request to have him removed. Apple's efforts were shot down by an appellate court, which found that the company failed to provide evidence of irreparable harm. And last April, Bromwich suggested matters had improved, telling the court that relations between himself and Apple were better off.

Apple is still hoping to overturn a verdict that found it and book publishers were guilty of a price fixing conspiracy that raised e-book prices. The Second Circuit Appeals Court will hear Apple's challenge in March, and a victory would allow Apple to avoid paying a $450 million settlement.

Book publishers
Late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs introduces iBooks iPad app and partner publishers in 2010. | Source: Apple


The U.S. government's ruling saddled Apple with an injunction that bars it from entering into any unsavory deals with publishers, and as antitrust monitor, Bromwich's job is to ensure that Apple follows those restrictions. Apple officials have said they continue to fight the case out of principle, because the company insists that no illegal collusion took place between itself and book publishers.

At the time of the iBookstore's launch, Amazon accounted for nine out of every ten e-book sales, and titles were sold under the "wholesale model." In that model, resellers such as Amazon had the power to set prices, selling titles at or below costs if they chose to do so.

Under negotiations led by Eddy Cue, Apple and book publishers opted to switch to a so-called "agency" pricing model. This prevented content owners from being able to sell the same titles at a lower price elsewhere, without offering the same price on Apple's iBooks platform --?a "most favored nations" clause.

Apple has argued that publishers openly discussed their desire to raise prices on books, as they felt titles were being sold for too little by Amazon under the wholesale model.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    Amazon should be forced to reimburse Apple all legal costs as well. We know they were behind this.
  • Reply 2 of 59
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,076member
    "Mr. Bromwich bills at $1,100 an hour. "

    Jesus. Money well spent, eh guys? What the **** is this guy contributing to humanity for $1,100/hr?
  • Reply 3 of 59
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,261member
    This whole thing has bothered me from the start. Cote has been known to give the prosecution a win before cases even start. She did that here, declaring, even before she saw any evidence from Apple, that they abused the system, and that they were guilty. If I were Apple attorneys, I would have protested her presence on the case.

    As far as Bromwitch goes, he's known to be a friend of hers. That's not even proper. This whole thing stinks.
  • Reply 4 of 59
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,261member
    slurpy wrote: »
    "Mr. Bromwich bills at $1,100 an hour. "

    Jesus. Money well spent, eh guys? What the **** is this guy contributing to humanity for $1,100/hr?

    That's not the worst part. He's not even an expert in this work, so he hired another attorney to assist him who is an expert. He charges about the same amount.
  • Reply 5 of 59
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    "Mr. Bromwich bills at $1,100 an hour. "



    Jesus. Money well spent, eh guys? What the **** is this guy contributing to humanity for $1,100/hr?



    Well since he's had to hire another law firm to explain anti-trust law to him he does have higher expenses than usual.... :)

  • Reply 6 of 59
    Bromwich+DOJ+Amazon=collusion.

    If I had my way, they'd all be lashed.
  • Reply 7 of 59
    I don't generally play the "what would Steve have done" game. However, I can't help but imagine how this whole thing would have caused him to come completely unglued.
  • Reply 8 of 59
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,455member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    That's not the worst part. He's not even an expert in this work, so he hired another attorney to assist him who is an expert. He charges about the same amount.

     

    That is what I don't get...if you need to hire someone to help you do your job for a customer, that comes out of your pocket, not theirs.

  • Reply 9 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    Amazon should be forced to reimburse Apple all legal costs as well. We know they were behind this.



    We know nothing. All there is is hearsay an innuendo, none of which is even remotely admissible in a court of law.

  • Reply 10 of 59
    Whatev, I don't have a problem with him charging $1,100/hr. I hope I can charge that much some day. The problem is that this whole thing seems like a sham. I would imagine that Apple will overturn this in court. Then they should sue this guy.
  • Reply 11 of 59

    This whole case has always been upside-down. Let's prosecute Apple for violating antitrust laws in a way that increased competition!

  • Reply 12 of 59



    Just take a look at this guy's picture.

    We now have a perfect idea of what "corruption" looks like.

    This whole case is an impossible (but real) travesty of Justice, and Holder did Nothing to stop it. That lame-o is trying to show how the Obama administration will follow nastiness wherever it leads, even if it starts with themselves.

    This is disgusting.

    When Apple wins the appeal, take these losers to the cleaners. My how at this time they must be mocking Apple.

  • Reply 13 of 59
    Amazon should be forced to reimburse Apple all legal costs as well. We know they were behind this.
    Do you? Have you any evidence at all or do you just like spouting unsubstantiated accusations? Because if you do have any evidence I'm sure Apples lawyers would like to hear from you as they seem to need some help on this case.
  • Reply 14 of 59
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,888member

    I was getting all ready to be inflamed, and then I saw this was just an editorial in the WSJ. Pfft. The editorial page of the WSJ is the domain of right wing hacks. This is just an attack on anti-trust law. If there's truth to it, it's purely coincidental. 

  • Reply 15 of 59
    Quote:


     Specifically, Bromwich reportedly used his position to look into Apple's Siri, Maps, and hardware engineering groups


     

    Coincidentally, he was wearing Google Glass at the time...

  • Reply 16 of 59
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member

    You have to admire the guy, though. He has one **** of a nerve for charging $1,100 per hr unless he is the undisputed world expert in his field.

  • Reply 17 of 59
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    slurpy wrote: »
    "Mr. Bromwich bills at $1,100 an hour. "

    Jesus. Money well spent, eh guys? What the **** is this guy contributing to humanity for $1,100/hr?

    It's a lawyer's wet dream. Remember Ken Starr in a similarly useless role ran up bills of $39.2 million!
  • Reply 18 of 59
    slurpy wrote: »
    "Mr. Bromwich bills at $1,100 an hour. "

    Jesus. Money well spent, eh guys? What the **** is this guy contributing to humanity for $1,100/hr?

    So the governments position basically said that Apple can't milk consumers but our own exclusively appointed nimrod can milk Apple?

    Oh ok. Got it.
  • Reply 19 of 59
    Fuçk that guy! I hope Apple wins their appeal, all charges get dropped, and this guy gets ruined. And I mean his career ruined for life… which isn't even something I have ever wished for Samsung, Microsoft, or any other company. But this guy? Fuçk him! He seems like complete scum.

    melgross wrote: »
    That's not the worst part. He's not even an expert in this work, so he hired another attorney to assist him who is an expert. He charges about the same amount.

    I don't care that he charges that much. He has a right to charge what he wants. I care that Apple had no say in the matter and there was pay tier for a government appointed position and, most egregiously, he had to hire others to do his job because he was way out office depth and then wants Apple to pay for both him and the other people. Fuçk that guy!
  • Reply 20 of 59
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Fuçk that guy! I hope Apple wins their appeal, all charges get drops, and this guy gets ruined. And I mean ruined… which isn't even something I wish for Samsung, Microsoft, or any other company. But this guy? Fuçk him!
    I don't care that he charges that much, I care that he has to hire others to do his job because he doesn't know what to do, and then wants Apple to pay for both him and the other people.

    And Denise Cote should be investigated for abuse of her position. Bad judge, bad Bromwich, bad, bad, bad!
Sign In or Register to comment.