Apple Inc. (AAPL) Keeps Fighting In E-Book Price Fixing Case

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Keeps Fighting In E-Book Price Fixing Case
ElisaRiva / Pixabay

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s loss in the e-book price fixing case in 2013 has ignited a firestorm of controversy, and not just among the company’s  Die-hard Apple fans are apparently pretty angry too. The issue now isn’t the case itself, in which the court already ruled against Apple. It’s about the monitoring process the judge forced upon Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) afterward.

Apple execs taking the loss hard

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was convicted of collaborating with e-book publishers to fix the prices of e-books higher in 2009 before it entered the market and in early 2010 when it did get into the market., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) had been selling e-books at lower prices to increase their popularity, but publishers were said to be working with Apple to price them higher in order to stop the erosion of prices.

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Now Business Insider reports that documents filed in the case indicate that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s top executives are “extremely angry” and will “never get over the case.” Of course the company has filed an appeal and claims that the court’s decision to appoint a monitor to ensure that it complies with antitrust laws is “flatly unconstitutional.”

Michael Bromwich, who was appointed by the judge to monitor Apple’s compliance in the area of e-book pricing, has said the company refuses to comply with his requests for meetings with top executives. In addition, he claims that Apple fans have sent him “various profane and abusive emails” which started after Apple filed its objections with the court on Nov. 27.

Apple refuses to cooperate

Bromwich has been trying to line up meetings with top executives at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for months. Now AAPL has requested a stay in his appointment as monitor. The appeals court is due to hear that case within the next few months.

The Justice Department filed a document in objection to the requested stay, saying that Apple is trying “to shield its highest-level executives and Board members from the perceived inconvenience of having to sit for these interviews.” The document goes on to say that Apple’s refusal to cooperate with Bromwich only shows that he is needed in order to make sure that Apple complies with the laws.

AAPL pays a hefty price

The New Yorker questions why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is putting up such a fight in the first place. Not only is the company dealing with negative media attention from its refusal to cooperate, but it is paying thousands of dollars an hour in legal fees. Apple must pay Bromwich’s monitoring fees of $1,100 per hour, plus $1,025 per hour for an antitrust attorney appointed by the court to assist him. Apple compared the rates to those of its suppliers and suggests paying him $700 or $800 per hour. However, as Bromwich noted, he isn’t one of Apple’s suppliers.

So will the judge’s decision be reversed on appeal? Apple seems to think so because it appears to be just biding its time until then. However, experts are split on whether that will actually happen.

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