While not yet an official investigation, the NYpost reports
that Apple may be the target of a federal inquiry regarding antitrust concerns. The initial probe is the result of a recent statement by Apple where the company announced it will only allow the use of its own, official development tools for iPhone and iPad apps. That may not sound too unreasonable, but here's the rub: Apple's development kit only supports Mac OS
. In short, if you want to develop for any of Apple's popular mobile devices, you need to buy one of their computers to develop on.
Though suspicious on its own merit, Apple's dev-kit exclusivity may not be the only reason the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have expressed interest. One of the criticisms lobbed at Apple as a result is that this decision forces Adobe's hand, potentially barring Flash from ever being released
on iPhones or iPads.
Incidentally, the timing of this event comes very close to a personal statement by Apple's CEO
which outlines the reasons behind the company's decision to ignore support for Flash. Originally, Steve Jobs' explanation seemed to appear without much provocation, but now we see how it may have been relevant. This statement may have been a move by Apple to publicly distance itself from Adobe and justify its refusal of Flash based upon sound business reasons instead of anti-competitive practices.
We should know in a few days whether or not the antitrust inquiry will become a full scale investigation. What are your thoughts on Apple's decision to require Mac-only development tools?