Judge appoints monitor to keep an eye on Apple's e-books biz

A US judge has named and appointed a monitor to oversee Apple's compliance with antitrust laws, part of a ruling made earlier this year in the e-books case.

A US judge on Wednesday appointed an external monitor to keep Apple in compliance with antitrust laws, following the tech giant's loss in court earlier this year.

Judge Denise Cote named former Assistant US Attorney and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich to keep tabs on the company for the next two years. That's less than the five-year injunction Apple faces across numerous deals with publishers as part of a July ruling.

Bromwich was one of two names picked by the Justice Department as well as plaintiff states as part of last month's injunction ruling. As monitor, he'll work from inside Apple to maintain the company's compliance with US antitrust laws.

Bromwich filled a similar, independent monitor role within the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia a little more than a decade ago, and more recently served as part of US oversight on the oil industry.

Last April, the Justice Department sued Apple along with five of the six largest book publishers in the US, accusing them of conspiring to set e-book prices, and working together to break Amazon's hold on the market with its Kindle e-book reader. Those publishers settled, leaving Apple and the Justice Department to duke it out in court. Following a trial, judge Cote ruled that Apple "orchestrated" the "conspiracy," something Apple has said it plans to fight.

Initially, Apple was left with a set of remedies proposed by the Justice Department that would have impacted the company's existing agreements with the five major publishers and let other e-book publishers link to their own bookstores in iOS apps, though those two provisions have been softened since the ruling.

Updated at 1:32 p.m. PT with additional information about Bromwich and the e-books case.

 

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