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Apple requests removal of antitrust compliance monitor

Tech giant claims court-appointed monitor has demonstrated a personal bias against the company.


Tensions between Apple and a court-appointed antitrust compliance monitor have apparently reached a breaking point.

Lawyers for the tech giant on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to disqualify Michael Bromwich, arguing that he has demonstrated a personal bias against the company. Bromwich was appointed in October to keep tabs on Apple, following a ruling that the company had conspired with other publishers to set e-book prices.

The company took particular issue with a court filing late last month in which Bromwich laid out his full list of grievances against Apple. In the document, the former assistant US attorney and Justice Department inspector general charged that responses to requested meetings with Apple personnel have been limited and that his team has so far received only a small number of all the documents requested and promised.

Apple said Tuesday that the filing, dubbed the "Bromwich Declaration," raised questions over the attorney's impartiality:

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.

Bromwich's job is to work from inside Apple for two years to assure the company's compliance with US antitrust laws. However, just one month after the monitoring began, Apple and Bromwich were already at odds with each other.

Apple claimed in November that the attorney's fees were excessive, pointing to the $138,432 he charged for his first two weeks of work. Meanwhile, Bromwich countered that his requests to meet with key Apple people were largely being ignored.

[Via Apple Insider]