Apple gets temporary break from antitrust monitor

A federal appeals court has granted a temporary stay until a three-judge panel can examine Apple's motion.

CNET
A federal appeals court on Tuesday granted Apple's motion to hold off on having an external monitor to make sure it complies with antitrust laws, saying it will give Apple a reprieve until a panel can examine the issue.

At a hearing last week, District Court Judge Denise Cote denied Apple's request to put the monitoring on hold until its appeal of her ruling is complete. Last July, Cote found Apple violated antitrust laws, orchestrating a conspiracy to fix the prices of e-books. She then appointed an external monitor to keep tabs on the company's compliance with antitrust laws.

However, a United States court of appeals for the second circuit on Tuesday gave Apple a temporary stay until a three-judge motions panel hears the request for a longer stay. The court said the motion for stay should be heard by the panel "as soon as possible." The US government has until the end of day on Friday to file its opposition to the motion for a stay.

Cote in October named former Assistant US Attorney and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich as the monitor for the company for the next two years, which was less than the five-year injunction Apple faces across numerous deals with publishers as part of a July ruling.

It didn't take long for Apple to butt heads with Bromwich. Apple complained in November that the attorney's fees were excessive, pointing to the $138,432 he charged for his first two weeks of work. Bromwich countered that his requests to meet with key Apple personnel were largely being ignored. Earlier this month, lawyers for Apple asked Cote to disqualify Bromwich, arguing that he has demonstrated a personal bias against the company.

The Justice Department sued Apple and five of the six top book publishers last year, saying they conspired together to break Amazon's hold on the e-books market with its popular Kindle Reader by setting prices. Though the publishers settled, Apple fought the Justice Department's accusations in court, and lost. Cote ruled that Apple "orchestrated" the conspiracy, which Apple plans to fight on appeal. Reuters earlier reported the news about the temporary stay.

 

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