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More on Apple’s Antitrust eBooks Case

Review & Outlook: Apple's Star Chamber:

Judge Cote's injunction gave Apple until January 14, 2014 to overhaul its antitrust compliance and training procedures, a process that is underway. But in late October Mr. Bromwich began an open-ended, roving investigation of Apple. He demanded immediate interviews starting in November with every top Apple executive and board member, including CEO Tim Cook, lead designer Jony Ive and Al Gore. Does he want to disinter Steve Jobs too?

Apple suggested that he speak with its employees who actually have something to do with antitrust, such as its general counsel or chief compliance officer, whereupon Mr. Bromwich had a tantrum. He made blanket requests for proprietary documents well beyond his mandate and bypassed Apple's in-house counsel by sending letters directly to board members and executives ordering them to meet with him without their lawyers present, accusing the company of "a surprising and disappointing lack of cooperation."

Then, shortly before Thanksgiving and out of the blue, Judge Cote proposed to amend her injunction to grant Mr. Bromwich even greater powers than he already claimed and also to make monthly briefings to her on what he finds—without Apple present. She denied any previous ex parte contact, but Apple's lawyers say Mr. Bromwich told them that he doesn't need to wait for the January deadline because Judge Cote privately instructed him during the interview process for the position to get off to a "fast start."

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