January 17, 2014

As expected, Judge Cote refuses to remove meddling monitor Michael Bromwich from the Apple case


DOJ-Apple-imageOver the last two months, Apple has waged a war of words against Michael Bromwich, a lawyer/part-time Brian Huskie lookalike appointed by Judge Denise Cote to ensure that the tech giant was complying with antitrust laws in the wake of U.S. v. Apple. As we wrote about earlier this week and last month, Apple is none to pleased with Bromwich, who charges lots of money because he is a fancy lawyer, wants to meet with fancy Board members like Al Gore, and because he has a fancy relationship with his friend Judge Cote that may just be unethical. For these reasons, Apple had recently asked Cote to remove Bromwich from the case.

Yesterday, Cote was having none of it, writing in a 64-page opinion that Apple “failed to show” that it was in the “public interest” to remove Bromwich. There are many things that I’ve disagreed with Judge Cote on over the last few months but this isn’t one of them: pestering a billion dollar company that likes to break the rules seems to be very much in the public interest, even if the guy doing the pestering is kind of a jerk.

“While Apple would prefer to have no Monitor, it has failed to show that it is in the public interest to stop his work. If anything, Apple’s reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition.” According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s lawyer argued that “Mr. Bromwich had an incentive to drag out the monitorship to increase his fees, and that the process could cost Apple millions of dollars and hinder its innovation.” But as BuzzFeed’s Matthew Zeitlin wrote on Twitter yesterday, “If you really don’t like having an antitrust monitor, you probably really need one.”

Cote, however, expressed hope that Bromwich and Apple can repair their relationship, writing “Hopefully, that relationship can be ‘reset’ and placed on a productive course. But it is strongly in the public’s interest for the monitor to remain in place.”


Alex Shephard is the director of digital media for Melville House, and a former bookseller.