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  • 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.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple to Face Antitrust Investigation started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. julioa350's Avatar
      julioa350 -
      Well I guess they realised Apple is beginning to take over the world and they ain't having none of it so Apple must be stopped.
    1. cpotoso's Avatar
      cpotoso -
      If a developer wants to produce his/her code using tool A which then is translated to a language that the apple SDK can understand and compile into an iphone application that should always be OK. This is a blatant move from apple to make sure that applications coded for iphone cannot be also coded for other platforms (or cannot be done without a HUGE amount of effort). They should be punished.

      Ah! For those clueless out there: this is not apple's refusal to have flash run on the browser, it is a refusal to let flash applications be cross-compiled as iphone applications.
    1. Melech518's Avatar
      Melech518 -
      Never going to happen. The app store is apples platform. Unfortunately they can set any rules and restrictions they want.
    1. hungquocle's Avatar
      hungquocle -
      Quote Originally Posted by Melech518 View Post
      Never going to happen. The app store is apples platform. Unfortunately they can set any rules and restrictions they want.
      maybe..maybe not
      , what really happened to MS when they integrated IE in OS ?
    1. iPhone3G[S]'s Avatar
      iPhone3G[S] -
      Flash is going to way of the floppy drive...
    1. s4mb4's Avatar
      s4mb4 -
      can't really see how this violates antitrust.... every large software company protects certain portion of their code. If Apple decides you must use Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScriptm then so be it. this really seems to be a cry baby complaint and not actionable.
    1. EdmundGerber's Avatar
      EdmundGerber -
      Quote Originally Posted by hungquocle View Post
      maybe..maybe not
      , what really happened to MS when they integrated IE in OS ?
      Exactly. It was their browser, on their OS, and they got massively slapped down. The same will happen with apple.
    1. s4mb4's Avatar
      s4mb4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by EdmundGerber View Post
      Exactly. It was their browser, on their OS, and they got massively slapped down. The same will happen with apple.
      not the same issue. If you remember the early days of IE, it was required to use some of the base features of the OS. If i installed Netscape, i lost that functionality. That was the base of the antitrust. It took away 'consumers' choice. what consumer cares about cross-compiling?
    1. cpotoso's Avatar
      cpotoso -
      Quote Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post
      can't really see how this violates antitrust.... every large software company protects certain portion of their code. If Apple decides you must use Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScriptm then so be it. this really seems to be a cry baby complaint and not actionable.
      They can force you to compile ObjC in their SDK, what they can't do is to tell you that the ObjC code cannot be generated by "translation" from other source code. Simple.

      And once again for the clueless: this is NOT the flash thinghy you see on the browser, this is about application development.

      Quote Originally Posted by Melech518 View Post
      Never going to happen. The app store is apples platform. Unfortunately they can set any rules and restrictions they want.
      Maybe yes, maybe no... We'll see. To operate in the market you actually have to follow the law, perhaps that is a novel concept?
    1. Evilsaint's Avatar
      Evilsaint -
      Very intresting
    1. saunupe1911's Avatar
      saunupe1911 -
      I don't think they should be punished, but they should be made to compromise with Adobe if convicted.
    1. politicalslug's Avatar
      politicalslug -
      Not a chance this will stick. They may sell a lot of apps, but they sell those apps on a minority platform. They are so ridiculously far from dominating the cellular market it isn't funny. ~2/3%? Even the within smartphone market Apple is a minority, looking at all players. Android's marketshare grows by the day. Where on Earth is the antitrust violation coming from? There is no stipulation that specific programming languages cannot be mandated for minority closed systems within any US (or anywhere else in the world) antitrust laws. This is what the government is spending money on? Why not just mail that money in bundles of cash to Iraq (lord knows it will never go to social services).

      "It's not fair. Not fair I tell you!" Who gives a damn! It's not illegal either!
    1. PM5K's Avatar
      PM5K -
      I think a better comparison should be to compare the iPhone platform to something like an Xbox 360.

      You can't just do whatever you want on the 360. If you want to use more than one DVD you'd probably have to get approval from Microsoft. That's just one example, but I'm sure Microsoft has a ton of things you can and can't do on their platform, and if it's in the best interest of their platform, and the quality of what's made for it, then to me that's fine. There are also, for example, limitations on the size of games for Xbox Live Arcade, which is another user experience limitation, in other words that limitation is in place to make sure users have a good experience on the Xbox Live service by making sure they can download an Xbox Live Arcade game quickly.

      If Apple is worried that people will write software for one platform, and then use software to make it compatible with Apple's platform, without doing anything else, and it creates poor quality software that wasn't written with the Apple device specifically in mind, and the user experience suffers because of it, then I think Apple can create policies that limit that.

      When you develop on that platform Apple has a lot of limitations, most are designed to make the user experience better, others are designed to limit use of the network the phones are used on (AT&T).
    1. mooritexxx's Avatar
      mooritexxx -
      I love the picture. made my day haha
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      if somehow apple loses, they can always move the app store to cydia
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Melech518 View Post
      Never going to happen. The app store is apples platform. Unfortunately they can set any rules and restrictions they want.
      Perhaps they can set rules and restrictions to the APP STORE. This is fine. It is keeping all competitors out by locking anything from being installed on their mobile devices OUTSIDE of the APP STORE that is the issue here.
    1. PAKIS-RULEZ's Avatar
      PAKIS-RULEZ -
      *** apple and trying to take over the world!