As we reported late last week, Apple and the court-appointed monitor charged with keeping an eye on Apple's antitrust compliance measures haven't exactly gotten off to a good start.
Apple last week filed a motion stating that Michael Bromwich -- the court-appointed monitor -- is taking Apple to the cleaners with exorbitant fees. The filing states that Bromwich is charging Apple US$1,100 an hour for his services. In just two weeks on the job, Bromwich has already billed Apple $138,432.
According to Apple's complaint, Bromwich has hired additional attorneys to help him do his job and is engaging in behavior that falls far outside the scope of his duties. For instance, Apple takes umbrage with the fact that Bromwich wants time to interview Apple executives and board members that have nothing to do with Apple's e-book antitrust compliance. For example, Bromwich, for whatever reason, wanted to sit down and interview Apple designer Jony Ive and Apple board member Al Gore.
In the wake of Apple's filing, Bromwich has fired back a salvo of his own.
All Things D summarizes Bromwich's response thusly:
- You people seem to think I'm working for you. "Apple has sought for the last month to manage our relationship as though we are its outside counsel or consultant," he wrote in a letter to Cook and his board last week.
- My fees are reasonable, and you have no idea what a reasonable fee looks like. Also, it doesn't matter if you think my fees are reasonable, because you don't get to negotiate them: You just pay them. The court will approve them.
If you enjoy a good legal back and forth, you might enjoy this biting excerpt from Apple's initial complaint.
Michael Bromwich is already operating in an unfettered and inappropriate manner, outside the scope of the Final Judgment, admittedly based on secret communications with the Court, and trampling Apple's rights; the Court's proposal out of the blue to grant him even greater powers as monitor would only make things worse. Since his appointment, Mr. Bromwich has run far afield from his mandate and informed Apple that his fee structure is designed to "generate profits" for himself and the law firm he has retained to make up for the antitrust experience he lacks.
You can read Bromwich's full response below: