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back to article Apple asks judge to axe ebook price-fixing watchdog

Apple has asked a New York court to kick the antitrust monitor the beaks appointed off the company's payroll, accusing him of being biased against the fruity firm. Cupertino has been complaining about the court-appointed external compliance monitor Michael Bromwich practically since he got the job, saying that his fees are …

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Headmaster

*Sigh*

Apple really are like a small over-privileged child with rich parents and an over active hubris gland.

I hope they die on their arse. Well, we're allowed to dream.

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jai
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Re: *Sigh*

wish i could charge $1100 an hour just for talking to people...

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Re: wish i could charge $1100 an hour just for talking to people...

You can.

Whether or not you will get paid is, of course, an entirely separate discussion. And probably quite a short one.

GJC

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g e
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Re: *Sigh*

There's more money in price-fixing.

Unless you get caught.

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Re: *Sigh*

I think Apple should be watched, but it does sound like the appointed watcher is abusing his position. Generally I think Apple have abused their position and their losing the case was the right decision, but I have to side with them against Bromwich, based on what has so far been reported.

Maybe the court should pay for the work, then it would probably drop to under $20 an hour. :-D

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Terminator

Re: *Sigh*

To be fair to apple its not likely a lawyer who charges $1100 is the shy and retiring, dragged himself up from the ghetto type.

Suspect its very much a case of Megashark vs Crocosarus. I'll get the popcorn in.....

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Paris Hilton

Re: Poor Apple

My heart really bleeds for this unscrupulous, litigious, 485.89 billion dollar, overpriced-toy maker.

How dare that nasty man force them to conduct business ethically?

Clearly he must be stopped, so that Apple can resume racketeering "business" as usual.

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Facepalm

Re: *Sigh*

"Maybe the court should pay for the work, then it would probably drop to under $20 an hour."

And the court gets it money from where? In these parts the courts are funded by we taxpayers. Because nothing is more fair than screwing the little guy to protect the little guy from being screwed by corporate price fixing schemes of a company worth roughly 4.9x10^11 dollars. Oh and good luck finding someone competent to do the job for $20/hr or have you missed the news stories of last months fast food worker strike? Oh, perhaps Apple could find someone they could pay in iPhone apps.

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Devil

Re: *Sigh*

Apple: We don't like this restriction on price manipulation.

NSA: We need a new backdoor to iDevices.

Apple+NSA in unison: Deal!

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Dear Apple .......

....... remember the 30% you want from in app purchases? This is the karmic payback.

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Re: Dear Apple .......

I think the developers who have netted $7bn aren't too unhappy with the model.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

30% is peanuts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

Do you freetard asshats really not understand commerce?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

Absolutely, they would have hated to have 8.5 or 10 billion.

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Re: Dear Apple .......

Do you AC's not understand 'in app purchases'? You know, where Apple wanted a 30% slice on every purchase through, for example, the Kindle app?

Imagine if the MS/Linux distro you used demanded 30% of every purchase from Steam you made.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

@ Eradicate all BB entrants

Apple process the transactions, pay the bank/credit card charges, provide and support the infrastructure. 30% is nothing and equally fair. All the other app stores are adopting the same successful model, no real surprise. No developer want to be responsible for all that hassle.

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Re: Dear Apple .......

I'm not talking about the initial 30% cut from the original app sale on Apples store, I am referring to when Apple wanted a 30% cut of purchases made through an app that had nothing to do with them except it was running on one of their devices.

At least on 4chan they have the courtesy to read your post before trolling.

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Re: Dear Apple .......

I agree with you on the 30% from in-app purchases, but I have often wondered about the following scenario, and I'll be interested in opinion here.

If there was no profit share on in-app purchases do you think we would suddenly see currently expensive apps made available for free with an activation charge as an in app purchase, i.e. cut Apple/Google out of their 30%? I wonder if this is why there is an insistence on the 30% applying to the in-app purchases as well. Many additional app features are already available as in-app purchases so I wonder if this is the thinking from Apple.

It would be tempting to say they should look at things case by case (kindle for example) but that would be extremely resource intensive and open to much interpretation hence the blanket policy. And in the case of kindle, I'm sure they were hoping some ibook purchases would occur as a result of that being nice and integrated, The kindle app though, much to amazons credit, is still far superior to ibooks.

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Re: Dear Apple .......

"Apple process the transactions, pay the bank/credit card charges, provide and support the infrastructure. 30% is nothing and equally fair"

About 1-2% covers the bank/credit card charges. You're seriously suggesting the other 28-29% of *in-app purchases* covers the infrastructure? They've already taken a chunk out of the app price. They're double-dipping into other people's money. And let's add into this that with the App store, you *must* use their payment system, or your app is rejected. There's plenty of developers who do the payment systems much, much cheaper than 30%.

And seriously, 30% is nothing? It's a third of every in-app transaction! So no, it's not "nothing", and it's not "equally fair".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

John, actually thats not right, in the UK at least, the banks charge ~20p to process every single transaction, whether its £0.50 or £1000. So for all those 69p app transactions, Apple (Google charge exactly the same 30% btw) basically makes nothing at all if the purchase is made with a UK debit card. Its not as clear cut as it first seems. What would be really interesting would be to know what the profit is after everything has been paid for, Bank Charges, Servers, Electricity, People etc...

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Re: Dear Apple .......

Quite close AC but not quite there. While Visa/Mastercard/et al do charge various figures for transactions, this is an individual processing charge. Once your company hits a certain number of charges a year this individual charge will be changed to a flat rate for all processing. Depending on the deal worked out with the merchant services Apple could be down to 1-2p per transaction.

A bit similar to MS OEM licensing, I doubt Dell or HP pay much more than £10 per WIndows license.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

Oh, a bit like the US wanting a cut of the profits Apple make in different countries. Or are you one of those "what's his cake and to eat it" fandroids?

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Re: Dear Apple .......

"I think the developers who have netted $7bn aren't too unhappy with the model."

Haha. Yeah. You wish. In reality, this is how that $10bn got divided:

$3bn -> Apple

$5bn -> Facebook user acquisition

$2bn -> developers

Happiest? You bet. The Zuck.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Dear Apple .......

" in the UK at least, the banks charge ~20p to process every single transaction, whether its £0.50 or £1000"

Yeah. When you move a couple bucks around.

Or you really don't think Apple gets a better rate?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

I don't understand why so many posters think that 30% is excessive.

My photographs sell through a giant agency based somewhere in Washington state.

for every $100 they sell a picture for I get $45. On top of that when it gets converted to £s I lose a little more, and then I have to pay tax on the amount that goes into my account.

I would love a 30% commission rate.

On the other hand. I don't have to market, track, bill, chase, operate an office or spend time on the phone talking to clients.

I just watch the money going in to the bank every 3 months.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Apple .......

Apple wouldn't be paying the banks, the processing is done by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc. Apple is large enough to go direct and bypass the banks. Many retailers will go through a bank for their processing though.

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Re: Dear Apple .......

If you apply for and get a job online through the browser in iOS, does Apple get 30% of your salary because it's an in-app purchase?

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Anonymous Coward

Pot of Apple tea

Calling kettle black.

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I gave up on the Apple statement after the first sentence. The US is desperately in need of a plain English campaign. I currently work for a US based company and the combination of the ridiculously tongue twisted emails I receive from them and having to fill in US government documents I'm surprised that anyone can be bothered to fill in any form in America (the forms for Obamacare are Orwellian in their double speak).

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Monopoly

When you're a convicted monopolist you got to take the blows, not whine about it.

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Re: Monopoly

Erm, they weren't convicted as a monopolist. They don't have the market share in books to be anything close to a monopoly. They were convicted of conspiring to fix book prices. The monopoly power in the market is Amazon, who had distorted prices so much that the publishers were on Apple's side over there needing to be a change.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Monopoly

Who's the convicted monopolist?

It's not Apple.

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Mummy Mummy...

My babysitter is taking all my sweets and not letting me watch TV and making me do my home work and it's just SO UNFAIR...

Well Kid if you hadn't broken the other kids toys you wouldn't need a babysitter,,,

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Re: Mummy Mummy...

It's more that the babysitter is charging $200 an hour and deciding that they should also hang around to make sure your MOT is valid, see the kids to school, rifle through your undies drawer, do a H&S study on your house, grass you up to the local council about putting stuff in the wrong bins, let the police know about your stash... and bill you for doing so.

I don't think there's much argument about Apple needing oversight. I'm not weeping for them over that. But it does suck that the Court appointed a scam artist to do the job.

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Weasel

I'm not generally on Apple's side in many arguments, but I have to say it does sound from the article like the guy is deliberately causing trouble and making life difficult for Apple.

I'm not opposed to people causing trouble and making life difficult for Apple per se, but when the person doing it is a court appointed monitor for a specific area, trying to stick his nose into everything I think it is a bit out of line.

You wouldn't expect a traffic warden to insist on performing a full body search of you and everyone in your car after telling you can't park somewhere or giving you a ticket.

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Re: Weasel

That's his job cos Apple were working-broken within the law, getting them to work within the law by definition means he'll be making life difficult. It's corporate rehab.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weasel

Frankly i think the guy is on to things Apple is not wanting others to find out about.

Apple certainly has some creative/questionable ways of doing business.

AND!!!! OVERCHARGING!!!!!! Give me a break apple you are "top dawg"' at overcharging,,, well i guess that is why you recognize it so easily. roflmao.............i am so weak now lol...

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Re: Weasel

"Frankly i think the guy is on to things Apple is not wanting others to find out about."

Indeed, that may well be the case, but unless those things are specifically related to antitrust practices it's not his job.

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Re: Weasel

AND!!!! just how will you know until you "find out"?

That's the catch 22 position.

The guy needs to probe the rotten apple to the core.

5000 pounds of Apple cavity search recommended.

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Re: Weasel

Note that one of the complaints is that he's wanting to interview top execs who Apple claim wouldn't have had anything to do with ebooks. This is despite the fact that quite often the people at the top will have an informal conversation and then it will turn into something formal with the right people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weasel

"AND!!!! just how will you know until you "find out"?

That's the catch 22 position.

The guy needs to probe the rotten apple to the core.

5000 pounds of Apple cavity search recommended."

----------------------------------------

Thanks for justifying our "spy on everyone" approach.

regards,

NSA

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Re: Weasel

LOL,,,, only someone from the NSA would think that way...& your very welcome...

NOT!!!!

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Thumb Down

Booo Hooo......

The nasty man is being mean to us.

Typical bully, Beats up anyone smaller then them, but goes crying home to mummy when they get a taste of their own medicine.

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Waaaaaaaaaaah!

He won't let us gouge the sheeple and he keeps looking at the illegal things we are doing! Waaaaaaaah!

"the guy is deliberately causing trouble and making life difficult for Apple."

Then I, for one, would like to give him a cookie.

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Big Brother

Watchdog or Auditor

It would be interesting to know whether by the terms of the court settlement he was tasked to be a watchdog or an auditor. The difference being a true watchdog would be justified in pro-actively chasing down "leads" whereas an auditors role is more like a review of whats been submitted, in which case any chasing down should be purely related to more information requests around the submission.

It has to be said though - how was this guy chosen? It sounds like a pretty sweet gig that he's milking for all its worth. I would love to understand the trail of influence application process that got him the job........

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The monitor is a long time friend of the judge

The whole appointment stinks to high heaven. If an impartial monitor wanted to look into some stuff that's related to the case he was appointed to monitor, that's one thing.

I think Apple should be within their rights to demand someone else be appointed. They can't keep refusing to work with everyone, but it sounds like this guy is on a fishing expedition and wanting to look into things totally unrelated to the case. While Apple haters may cheer that on, that's not what the law allows.

It is as if Google lost a court case regarding search and the monitor wanted to interview the CEO of Motorola and the head programmer for Android.

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Did the monitor get the option of refusing the job when the court appointed him? Maybe he doesn't want it and is actively trying to get himself punted. As much as sticking it to Apple could be amusing to the right person, compliance checking sounds like boring work that could drag on for years while your skillset and reputation erode.

On the subject of $1100/hr, I wonder how much that is in comparison to Apple's legal counsel? It would be good if he mentioned what the regular lawyers at Apple get paid in a court rebuttal.

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Facepalm

Apple are not being unreasonable.

There are a few comments about the irony/cheek of Apple complaining about overcharging, the point being that Apple themselves overcharge.

There is, however, a big difference.

Apple's customers have a choice. If they choose to pay Apple's prices then by very definition they are not being overcharged - they are paying what they are willing to pay and Apple are pricing accordingly.

You may not agree with their pricing, given that other vendors charge less, but their customers do.

This court-appointed gentleman however is simply billing what he/his company chooses on the assumption that Apple have no choice at all.

I'm not a great Apple fan, but there is a very big difference between the two situations. Where there is a genuine alternative it is not overcharging to ask what the market will bear. In this case, there is no choice at all and so Apple are not being hypocritical challenging it in court.

Downvote at your leisure.

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Re: Apple are not being unreasonable.

"Apple's customers have a choice. If they choose to pay Apple's prices then by very definition they are not being overcharged - they are paying what they are willing to pay and Apple are pricing accordingly.

The difference is that Apple and their price-fixing cartel buddies were forcing customers of other vendors to pay inflated prices in order for them to keep their own inflated 30% markup on eBooks.

I choose to read my eBooks on a Kindle, yet I was being forced to pay more because of Apple.

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Re: Apple are not being unreasonable.

"I choose to read my eBooks on a Kindle, yet I was being forced to pay more because of Apple and their price-fixing cartel buddies."

There fixed that for you.

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