updated 12:35 pm EST, Tue January 21, 2014
Company aims for longer stay, monitor's eventual removal
The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Apple an "administrative stay," temporarily relieving it of scrutiny by antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich, Reuters reports. The stay is short-term only, and in fact Apple is pursuing a longer stay while it also seeks to suspend Bromwich entirely. A three-judge panel is due to hear a motion for the longer stay as soon as possible. The Department of Justice has until January 24 to file opposition; it didn't, however, oppose the administrative stay.
Apple has accused Bromwich of straying too far in his investigation, for instance by going after executives and board members not directly connected with Apple's handling of e-book deals. The company has also complained about Bromwich's $1,100-per-hour fee, and claimed that his monitoring could interfere with development of new products.
In a trial last year, Apple was found to have conspired with book publishers to artificially inflate e-book prices. The company is said to have specifically wanted to undermine Amazon, which until the Apple iBookstore launched in 2010 was able to sell Kindle titles at a loss, for around $10, in an effort to keep out any competitors. Following a mass publisher switch to the "agency model" of pricing, Kindle prices for bestsellers went up, but overall average e-book prices have dropped, and Amazon no longer has a monopoly position in the market.