Apple’s e-book division will no longer be overseen by a court-appointed monitor after the US Justice Department ruled that the company had made improvements to its antitrust compliance programme.
Despite the positive outcome for Apple, the Justice Department was critical of the company’s “challenging relationship” with the appointed monitor Michael Bromwich, claiming that the iPhone maker “never embraced a cooperative working relationship.”
Apple claims that Bromwich disrupted working practises by requesting meetings with high-ranking individuals that were not related to the ebook business and submitted excessive bills. The technology giant also went to court several times in an attempt to remove Bromwich as monitor.
Back in 2013, Apple was found to be conspiring with five book publishers in an attempt to thwart the rise of competitors like Amazon. Penguin Group, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group and Macmillan were all found culpable of working with Apple to rise e-book prices and subsequently settled the allegations.
However, Apple disputes the court’s version of events, claiming that its actions actually encouraged competition. The company may yet appeal the decision of the US Supreme Court which states that it must pay a $450 million settlement claim.
Even with the legal wrangle continuing, Apple will be pleased that it is no longer being monitored as part of the antitrust litigation. The US Justice Department agreed with Mr Bromwich’s assessment that in spite of the lack of cooperation, Apple had implemented the required changes to its antitrust compliance programme.