Apple is "its own worst enemy," says a court-appointed monitor whom the company continues to impede.
After it was confirmed that Apple conspired with at least five major book publishers to up e-book prices and keep competitors such as Amazon at bay from the industry, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote assigned former U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich with the task to monitor the internal antitrust policies of the Cupertino firm. Cote's findings stood their ground in court. Apple was fined for $450 million, and the company still denies involvement and maintains innocence.
The publishers at fault are News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group Inc, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan and Penguin Group Inc, and they have settled all their respective cases.
Apple's program is "substantially stronger" now said Bromwich, and that would be his final assessment if Cote doesn't lengthen his two-year appointment. But Apple did not immediately give a comment despite a formal request.
Bromwich submits a report every six months, and according to his latest one, Apple has significantly improved its senior executives' coalition and implemented effective antitrust procedures. Bromwich, however, continues to say that Apple refuses to comply with his requests for more information "for no good reason." The U.S. antitrust monitor considers Apple's behavior to be an unfortunate turn of events.
"This lack of cooperation has cast an unnecessary shadow over meaningful progress in developing a comprehensive and effective antitrust compliance program," Bromwich said.
On the other hand, Apple criticizes Bromwich for his aggressiveness, saying that he kept demanding interviews with executives and improperly worked together with the Justice Department. The Cupertino firm attempted to bar Bromwich from his monitoring duties, but the 2nd Circuit denied Apple's bid.
The tech firm's court issues don't end there, though, as the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Apple Music because of its policy regarding competing services, which Spotify expressed its concerns about. Connecticut and New York attorneys general are also probing Apple's music service because of its agreements with certain record companies.
Photo: Joe Gratz | Flickr