Top lawyer Sewell: Apple’s Black Knight

“Call him the Black Knight of business technology law. No matter how badly regulators whipped up on Intel, Bruce Sewell, and the company he represented as chief counsel, remained unbowed,” Brian Caulfield reports for Forbes.

“Sewell is joining Apple, one of the few companies in Silicon Valley whose legal dramas surpass Intel’s,” Caulfield reports. “Apple faces questions from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission over an agreement with AT&T that gives the carrier the exclusive right to sell the iPhone in the U.S.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s called an “exclusivity contract” and it’s been done thousands of times between carriers and device makers in the U.S. and around the world. There’s absolutely nothing “illegal” about it. Stupid question answered.

Caulfield continues, “Sewell replaces Daniel Cooperman, who served as Apple’s top lawyer for two years. Cooperman, in turn, replaced Daniel Rosenberg, who left for chipmaker Qualcomm after just 10 months on the job.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]


  1. MDN… gotta relax a bit. Caufield didn’t even mention the word “illegal” in the article. No, there’s nothing illegal with it but because the iPhone has impacted the industry so immensely, its viewed more and more as “an essential service” that everyone should have access to on all carriers.

    This is a GOOD thing for Apple. It means that they are moving mountains in the mobile industry and are making inroads no one would have anticipated. FCC can ask all the questions they want, they’ll have to change legislation to put a stop to these types of exclusivity arrangements. Whether or not they eventually force Apple to deal with other carriers…….its a WIN-WIN for Apple. But of course it would be a HUGE loss for AT&T;.

  2. @Mick James,
    NO, it’s not a “good thing” that Apple needs to spend money and scarce management time on idiotic questions from federal busybodies. And if Apple is “forced” to do something that is not part of its business plan, that is also not a “good thing” because it will hamper Apple’s ability to build more innovative products (i.e., the purpose of its business plan). I bet that Apple has a better idea what is a “good thing” for its business plan than federal bureaucrats or politicians. Unfortunately, at this time, a very tough and knowledgeable attorney that can hold of the Lilliputian federal horde is exactly what any successful company needs. A very successful company like Apple will automatically attract the federal ankle-biters, eager to find SOMETHING it did wrong; and if they can’t find anything, they’ll just make it up.

  3. @ alansky,

    None of the top nationwide carriers in the US are better than ATT. All of them have slower networks than most of the rest of the civilized world, all nickel and dime us for texting and charge us for incoming calls.

    ATT is not perfect but it’s hugely better than Verizon in every respect with possible exception of network coverage (which is a regional issue with all carriers), and they are far better than Verizon in plenty of places. Sprint? They are bleeding customers by the hour, and T-Mobile is pretty good, if you happen to live in one of the few places they cover.

    So yeah, ATT sucks, just like all the other US carriers. So what is your point? You plan to move to another country with better cell phone service?

  4. SERIOUSLY when are ppl going to stop ringing the exclusivity bell. ATT is the only carrier in the US that CAN carry the iphone, without changing the inner tech, and that is up to Apple to decide. No regulation can demand that Apple put a different radio chip in the phone.
    Apple could start selling the phone unlocked and a few might defect to tmobile but really? Is that what ATT is trying to protect?

  5. @MDN

    Regarding your take, I think you shouldn’t be making any legal comments before reading a little bit about patents, copyright, Internet law, and antitrust.

    Your takes about tech and gadgets are perfect, but this time you answered a stupid question with an even more stupid answer.

    I’m a loyal MDN reader, but this time you just got it wrong.

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