Apple is back in federal court trying to re-litigate its loss of a huge e-books price-fixing case in July.
Its top executives remain “extremely angry” and will “never get over the case,” newly filed documents in the lawsuit say.
The July ruling, if upheld, could eventually cost Apple billions in damages, because it raised the price of e-books by 50% overnight in 2010 for no reason other than Apple wanted it done.
It’s an incredibly important case, because the evidence as described in the ruling shows that Apple’s top executives — including internet svp Eddy Cue and the late founder, Steve Jobs — met with the heads of the major book publishing houses and got secret agreements from almost all of them to set prices across the board.
Yet Apple’s top execs remain livid about the loss, according to new documents filed in court. They believe the judge’s requirement that the company’s e-book division cooperate with a court-appointed compliance monitor is “flatly unconstitutional,” and have vowed to overturn it on appeal.
At the same time, the monitor — a consultant named Michael Bromwich — has complained to the court that Apple’s lawyers are stonewalling. Even though they have known since October that Bromwich wants to begin interviewing Apple executives about how e-book pricing now works at the company, Bromwich says he has yet to have a sit-down with CEO Tim Cook, top designer Jony Ive, Cue, or most of the members of the board.
Bromwich’s memo to the judge, in the format of a “declaration,” is fascinating because it describes how Apple’s top-ranking executives feel about losing the case six months ago (emphasis added):
Mr. Andeer [an Apple lawyer] responded that the company was very concerned about the request for interviews with Board members and senior executives, that they were very busy, and that we would see “a lot of anger” about the case that still existed within the company.
… Mr. Arquit [another Apple lawyer] said it was important for the “residue of tension” to wear off before we interviewed senior executives. Mr. Andeer added that Apple executives would “never get over the case” and that they were still extremely angry. Mr. Andeer suggested that any plan that included interviews of senior Apple executives was problematic because they did not expect to have to deal with me or other members of the monitoring team. He also said that many people in the company were fearful.
Apple is supported in its cause by — you guessed it — Apple fanboys, who have been sending Bromwich hatemail. He alleges he has received:
… various profane and abusive emails I had received from members of the public that were prompted by Apple’s Objections filed with this Court on Nov 27.