Apple antitrust inquiry may be pending

By on May 4, 2010, 8:52 AM
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?




User Comments: 13

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Punkid said:

Apple Inc should burn in hell....they are anti competitive and arrogant

whiteandnerdy said:

i agree. they think they are the best thing since sliced bread because the brainwashed masses will pay for their overpriced computers.

GonchuB GonchuB said:

hipocresy.. they are doing what the same thing they criticized windows of doing some years ago

Guest said:

yeah, I have been given the impression that Syeve Jobs believes that everything should be open source, except for the products that make him money...I'm not saying that's a 100% accurate statement, but it's the vibe Ive been getting...who knew you could f*ck up BSD this badly?

natefalk natefalk said:

I have been wondering about this for awhile now. About a year ago I bought a Mac so I could see what was involved with developing iPhone apps. Soon after I was so frustrated with OS X and their dev tools that I gave up on the whole thing. Right now the Mac I bought is nothing more than a $200 dust collector; I've only turned it on a handful of times.

If the dev tool would have been release for Linux or Windows, Apple wouldn't have sold a PC in this case. Does that mean they violated anti-trust laws? I'm not so sure.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It has appeared to me that Apple has been doing far worse things then Microsoft recently so this doesn't surprise me at all. In fact i think it is about time.

windmill007 said:

Awesome!!! We didn't like a natzi style regime then and we don't like it now. FREEDOM is the way forward!

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The sooner Steve Jobs is made to backtrack and look stupid the better imho.

MrAnderson said:

As much as I hate Apple's business practices, I don't think there are grounds to call a closed development ecosystem an antitrust. They are not dominating the market to a point that makes it that much of an issue. The gaming consoles have development kits and you must use those in to develop for those platforms and similarly Apple has created a similar ecosystem with the Mac Hardware being the development platform.

If everyone is so upset with Apple's practices, they should boycott developing software for it. I have an iPhone and I would gladly change to another competing phone if they get it right. The base functionality is solid, the apps are just icing. Nevertheless, I have decided to forget about developing on iPhone because of Apples practices. I was excited about Flash CS5 and they managed to perfectly time the SDK update to take all the air (no pun intended) out of Adobe's sails. The sad thing is that Adobe is the primary reason Apple computers sell.

But I digress, if there is anything that they should investigate, it is how Apply decides which applications can run on the platform. They open up the system making developers invest in new hardware and their time without any guarantee that their product will be allowed. Not allowing replication of functionality is grounds for antitrust on a platform that opens development to it. It kills competition and allows Apple to sit on its hunches in regard to improving the base functionality.

nazartp said:

MrAnderson, in fact, for the antitrust purposes, Apple is significant enough player in the smartphone market to be investigated and tried under the anti-trust laws. Courts typically define the "market power" as the ability of the company to affect the prices in particular market. I believe we can agree that the pricing on iPhones affects pricing on other smartphones. Now Apple uses this particular market power to reach and influence competition in the apps market and computer market. Decent grounds for an investigation, if you ask me.

Guest said:

Apple has turned into the one thing they spent years crying they are not. Now it's time to play nice or pay up just like everyone else. I will have a celebration when it's all over. :)

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

MrAnderson said:

As much as I hate Apple's business practices, I don't think there are grounds to call a closed development ecosystem an antitrust. They are not dominating the market to a point that makes it that much of an issue. The gaming consoles have development kits and you must use those in to develop for those platforms and similarly Apple has created a similar ecosystem with the Mac Hardware being the development platform.

If everyone is so upset with Apple's practices, they should boycott developing software for it. I have an iPhone and I would gladly change to another competing phone if they get it right. The base functionality is solid, the apps are just icing. Nevertheless, I have decided to forget about developing on iPhone because of Apples practices. I was excited about Flash CS5 and they managed to perfectly time the SDK update to take all the air (no pun intended) out of Adobe's sails. The sad thing is that Adobe is the primary reason Apple computers sell.

But I digress, if there is anything that they should investigate, it is how Apply decides which applications can run on the platform. They open up the system making developers invest in new hardware and their time without any guarantee that their product will be allowed. Not allowing replication of functionality is grounds for antitrust on a platform that opens development to it. It kills competition and allows Apple to sit on its hunches in regard to improving the base functionality.

Mr Anderson! are you THE "Mr Andersson" from TF2? play on the TBR S3 server often? =)

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

MrAnderson said:As much as I hate Apple's business practices, I don't think there are grounds to call a closed development ecosystem an antitrust. They are not dominating the market to a point that makes it that much of an issue. The gaming consoles have development kits and you must use those in to develop for those platforms and similarly Apple has created a similar ecosystem with the Mac Hardware being the development platform.

The issue isn't that you must use their development kits. I have no problem with that, and Microsoft does the same thing with their .net framework. The issue is that you MUST use their hardware in order to use their development kit. The consoles makers don't require you to purchase their special computer in order to develop for their platform. Apple is extremely closed. It's about time that Apple gets busted for practices that are actually worse than those of Microsoft. It's time to rethink who the "Evil Empire" is.

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