Apple Asks for External Monitor to be Fired Over Exorbitant Fees, Personal Bias

Apple is so unhappy with Michael Bromwich, the external monitor appointed by Judge Denise Cote to monitor the company for any anti-competitive actions, that it has now filed a letter with the court asking that Bromwich be removed from his post. Publisher's Weekly reports that Apple wants the court to "disqualify Mr. Bromwich from serving as the [external compliance monitor] because by filing a lengthy declaration testifying about disputed evidentiary facts in support of plaintiffs' opposition to Apple's motion for a stay [Bromwich] has made it clear that his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Apple also accused Bromwich of having "a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, [and] personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding."

In the Justice Department's response to Apple's original filing Bromwich says he has been doing this kind of work for 20 years and has never had a company try to tell him who he can talk to and how he is allowed to conduct those interviews. Ah, but Bromwich has never tried to micromanage executives a Apple. The idea of an outsider roaming around the executive offices, randomly demanding that Tim Cook answer antitrust questions without an attorney present is kind of mind-boggling. And the guy's fees are just absurd: he billed $138,432 for his first two weeks of work snooping on Apple. Did anyone really think Apple was going to put up with that? We have a feeling that Steve Jobs wouldn't have put up with this for a minute.

The judge will hold a hearing later this week to sort out the dispute. Will Bromwich stay or will he be replaced? Surely he will at least be required to have his fees reduced.

Posted on January 8, 2014

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