Apple Involved In Antitrust Investigation

Early last month, Apple changed the terms of service agreement on its software development kit for the iPhone and iPad to include section 3.3.1, which effectively prohibited developers from using Adobe Flash on its mobile devices.

Today, the New York Post is reporting that this move may have brought about some unexpected results - an antitrust investigation.

According to the Post article, "the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are locked in negotiations over which of the watchdogs will begin an antitrust inquiry into Apple's new policy of requiring software developers who devise applications for devices such as the iPhone and iPad to use only Apple's programming tools."

If you are friends with any iPhone developers, then you've likely heard all about last month's changes to the SDK terms of service, which states that all applications "must be originally written in C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs". This meant that any other workarounds to bring Flash-based applications to the iPhone, such as compilers, were suddenly outlawed.

As Nick Bilton of the New York Times' Bits Blog noted last month, this change was "sure to set off a brush fire at the headquarters of Adobe Systems" and now it seems to have done more than that. So, although Apple CEO Steve Jobs penned a long explanation last week as to why Adobe's Flash would not be allowed on any of Apple's mobile devices, it looks like security flaws and technical glitches may not be reason enough.

According to the Post, the decision on which agency will launch the antitrust inquiry is just days away and "doesn't necessarily mean action will be taken against Apple, which argues the rule is in place to ensure the quality of the apps it sells to customers."

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