John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Gets Its E-Book Antitrust Monitor

Watcher_Apple_ComplianceThe federal judge who found Apple guilty of colluding with five of the six largest publishers in the U.S. in an e-book price-fixing scheme has chosen the external antitrust compliance monitors charged with making sure the company doesn’t overstep the law again.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote tapped former federal prosecutor Michael Bromwich to supervise Apple’s antitrust compliance training program. Assisting him will be Barry Nigro, the chair of the antitrust department at law firm Fried Frank.

A former assistant U.S. attorney and Justice Department inspector General, Bromwich was part of the government’s trial team in the U.S. case against former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Oliver North, and more recently headed up the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency established to monitor oil and gas development following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Bromwich has plenty of experience in bringing reform, oversight and compliance to messy situations, but his antitrust background is a bit lacking. Indeed, as others have noted, he doesn’t really have one. Presumably that’s why Nigro was brought on to assist him. Prior to his stint at Fried Frank, Nigro served as deputy director for the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission. His specialty there: Anticompetitive practices investigations and litigation.

Together, Bromwich and Nigro will oversee Apple’s internal antitrust compliance policies and employee training on them for the next two years. Hardly the sort of hardcore monitoring for which the DOJ had argued, but, in Cote’s words “enough to ensure that competition is restored and preserved.

Apple, which had the right to object to both appointments, declined comment. Earlier this month, the company filed notice with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, announcing its intent to appeal Cote’s ruling.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik