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Apple ‘own worst enemy,’ US antitrust monitor says

Apple ‘own worst enemy,’ US antitrust monitor says

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by October 7, 2015 Tech Updates
 • Apple Inc’s antitrust compliance programme has improved, but the company continues to impede a court-appointed monitor overseeing the programme, the monitor told a federal judge
• Apple was liable in a civil antitrust case brought by US Justice Department

• Apple is considering whether to appeal that decision to the US Supreme Court

Apple has been been accused of scheming with five book publishers to raise e-book prices in an effort to slow competitors such as Amazon.com Inc.Apple has been been accused of scheming with five book publishers to raise e-book prices in an effort to slow … Read More

Apple Inc’s antitrust compliance programme has improved, but the company continues to impede a court-appointed monitor overseeing the programme, acting as “its own worst enemy,” the monitor told a federal judge in a report made public on Tuesday.

Michael Bromwich, who was assigned to monitor Apple’s internal antitrust policies after US District Judge Denise Cote found the company liable for conspiring to raise e-book prices, said Apple persisted in raising objections to his requests for information.

“In this respect, Apple has been its own worst enemy,” he said. “This lack of cooperation has cast an unnecessary shadow over meaningful progress in developing a comprehensive and effective antitrust compliance program.”

Nevertheless, Bromwich said Apple’s programme has become “substantially stronger,” commenting in what could be his final assessment unless Cote chooses to extend his two-year appointment.

An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bromwich, a former US Justice Department inspector general whose relationship with Apple has been strained from the outset, was named in October 2013 by Cote after she found Apple liable in a civil antitrust case brought by the Justice Department.

Cote found Apple schemed with five book publishers from 2009 to 2010 to raise e-book prices in an effort to slow competitors such as Amazon.com Inc.

The publishers — Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan — settled the allegations.

In June, a divided US appeals court in New York upheld Cote’s finding, rejecting Apple’s argument that it had engaged in pro-competitive behavior.

Apple is considering whether to appeal that decision to the US Supreme Court, according to court filings.

If it stands, the appellate ruling would require Apple to pay consumers $450 million in damages under a 2014 class action settlement that included nearly three dozen state attorneys general.

In his report, Bromwich said Apple had for the first time created a set of antitrust procedures, implemented training and improved engagement among its senior executives.

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