Apple gets federal babysitter to watch over iBooks sales


Apple’s federal e-book babysitter was named Wednesday. New York Judge Denise Cote assigned former Department of Just Inspector General Michael Bromwich to monitor Apple’s compliance with antitrust laws concerning e-book sales. In July, Apple agreed to an independent monitor after being found guilt of conspiring with five publishers to fix prices.

Although Apple has called such a monitor unnecessary, DoJ prosecutors demanded the step as part of the final court remedy. Judge Cote, however, threw Apple a bone, reducing Bromwich’s monitoring duty to just two years, less than half of the five years the Justice Department had originally wanted…

According to CNET, before joining the DOJ, Bromwich served a similar role in 2002 as independent monitor of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC.

He also served as the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. In 2002, he was a federal lawyer which helped prosecute the United State government’s case against Col. Oliver North.

In July, Apple was ordered not to enter into any ‘most-favored-nation’ agreements (see Wikipedia) with e-book publishers, or any other content provider. During the settlement negotiations, DoJ lawyers reduced their initial demand that the injunction last ten years to only five.

iBooks 3.0 (image 001)

Judge Cote has now trimmed that even further.

The move is in line with her earlier pledge to go “light” on restricting Apple’s e-book business. However, the Judge refused to eliminate the need for an outside monitor altogether due to what she termed Apple’s “blatant violation” of federal antitrust laws.

A trial to determine damages Apple must pay is set for May 2014.

Comic top of post via AllThingsD.