• Apple to Face Antitrust Investigation

    In the latest twist in the Apple vs. Adobe tiff, reports are emerging this morning that two US federal agencies are fighting over who gets to nail Apple for violating antitrust provisions in US law. The New York Post cites "sources close to the matter" as saying that the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are negotiating on which government body should go forward with investigations to determine if Apple is using its control over the iPhone platform to stifle competition.

    Recent changes to the agreement devs must sign to use the iPhone 4.0 beta SDK raised eyebrows in the developer community as well as among digital rights activists. One new provision in particular. located in Section 3.3.1, required that "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine," and restricted any apps that link to the Apple documented APIs "through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited. This prohibited the use of any cross-compiler tools like Microsoft Silverlight/Mono, and in particular seemed almost tailor-made to prevent Adobe's so-called "end-around" to Apple banning Flash on the iPhone: its Flash Packager tool, which was just released as a part of Creative Suite 5.

    Apple has faced antitrust charges before, and always come out of them without a conviction. This time, though, with the multi-billion dollar app market at stake, though, the ground may have changed.
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