Watchdog: Apple's antitrust procedures have improved

Watchdog: Apple's antitrust procedures have improved
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Apple’s procedures for complying with antitrust rules have improved since a court-appointed monitor began examinations of the company, he said in a report made public on Tuesday.

The company’s compliance program “is substantially stronger than it was when the monitorship began, and stronger than when we issued our [last report],” the monitor, Michael R. Bromwich, said.

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But Bromwich also said that the company continued to resist providing information for the reports.

“We continued to have requests rejected on a regular basis during this reporting period for no good reason; indeed, it turns out that Apple had a positive story to tell about the attention it paid to antitrust considerations in connection with Apple Music—a positive story that appears to reflect well on its [executive team], its Board, its lawyers, and its business personnel,” he wrote.

“And yet, our efforts to obtain basic information about how Apple handled antitrust issues relating to Apple Music were met with objections, resistance, and the provision of minimal information in response to repeated requests. In this respect, Apple has been its own worst enemy.”

Bromwich is required to submit reports to the court every six months assessing Apple’s procedures and whether the company’s training on antitrust issues is sufficient. He was appointed by a judge who found in 2013 that Apple had conspired with e-book publishers to raise prices.

While Apple has put the e-books case largely in its past, it continues to be the target of speculation about its compliance with antitrust laws.

Most recently, competitors raised questions about whether Apple was violating laws by taking a cut of their in-app purchases. Spotify has reportedly expressed concerns with Apple’s model as the company runs its own competing service.

Apple Music is reportedly under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for its policies toward other, competing services. The service is also reportedly facing probes from attorneys general in New York and Connecticut because of its deals with record companies.