Apple gets temporary reprieve from e-books monitor

NEW YORK Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:55am EST

NEW YORK Jan 21 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday gave Apple Inc a temporary reprieve from being subjected to an external monitor appointed to ensure it complied with antitrust laws, after the company was found liable last year for conspiring with five publishers to fix the prices of e-books.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York granted Apple an "administrative stay" of the court order appointing the monitor, Michael Bromwich, while the company seeks permission for a longer stay during its appeal.

In a brief order, the 2nd Circuit said a three-judge panel would hear Apple's motion for a stay pending appeal as soon as possible. It gave the government until Jan. 24 to file opposition papers. The government did not oppose the request for an administrative stay.

Apple has complained that Bromwich has been too intrusive, including by seeking interviews with top executives and board members, and has been charging an inflated $1,100 per hour for his services to rack up high fees. It has said his activities could interfere with its ability to develop new products.

The case is U.S. v. Apple, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 14-60.