Report: DOJ and FTC investigating Apple (Updated)

Report: DOJ and FTC investigating Apple (Updated)

Summary: Apple may be getting scrutiny from the U.S. Department Of Justice and Federal Trade Commission for changes it made to section 3.3.1 of its iPhone 4 SDK.

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According to The New York Post Apple may be getting scrutiny from the U.S. Department Of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for changes it made to section 3.3.1 of its iPhone 4 SDK.

The changes prohibit developers from using cross-compilers to create apps for the iPhone, iPod and iPad. The move blocks the use of Adobe's new Packager for iPhone feature in Flash Professional CS5 and has turned into a heated battle between the tech titans.

According to a person familiar with the matter, 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.

Regulators, this person said, are days away from making a decision about which agency will launch the inquiry. It will focus on whether the policy, which took effect last month, kills competition by forcing programmers to choose between developing apps that can run only on Apple gizmos or come up with apps that are platform neutral, and can be used on a variety of operating systems, such as those from rivals Google, Microsoft and Research In Motion.

Bloomberg says Adobe requested the review, which isn't surprising, but ZDNet's own Larry Dignan wonders if antitrust should delve into the guts of a software developer kit. Is this just a petty tit-for-tat between Apple and Adobe or does this potential government action raise an issue about regulatory power?

Update: According to AppleInsider (via WSJ) the FTC has also inquired about iAd, Apple's new mobile advertising platform.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Security

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97 comments
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  • Way to go, Feds!

    Yeah. Let's just jump all over the most booming, have-it-all-together
    tech company in the country, if not world, and see what we can do to
    mess it up, OK?

    It would be illuminating to know whose lobbyists (in addition to Adobe's)
    "encouraged" the feds to go after Apple.
    Userama
    • right on

      this can't have any Merit. If only Apple had it's own lobbyists to protect itself. Everyone knows booming have-it-all-together
      tech companies can't break the law. Poor Apple the government just wants to screw them up.
      Turd Furgeson
    • RE: Well, since Apple Almighty is so fast

      to get the feds to go after someone illegally why shouldn't the feds go after them legally?<br><br>But I guess that's too much to expect from the Sheeple who are pwned by Apple Almighty and face the company on bended knee.
      Tholian_53
      • BLAH BLAH BLAH!! [nt]

        nt
        Arm A. Geddon
      • Oh? Let's take this point by point

        [b]Well, since Apple Almighty is so fast to get the feds to go after someone illegally why shouldn't the feds go after them legally?[/b]

        And WHO was sought after illegally? If you are referring to the incident with the STOLEN iPhone prototype that was perfectly legal - Powell left it in the bar, Hogan made a piss poor attempt to find the owner despite having the info, did not leave it at the bar but took it home, found out what he really had, went shopping around, and Chen bought it for 5 grand. So we have theft, sale of stolen property and purchasing of stolen property.

        But sure, [i]Apple[/i] did the illegal thing./ sarcasm[b]

        But I guess that's too much to expect from the Sheeple who are powned by Apple Almighty and face the company on bended knee. [/b]

        The word you are looking for is [i]"pwned"[/i] BTW... if you are going to use the lingo at least spell it right.

        As far as the feds going after Apple I seriously doubt they have any real evidence - this is probably some attempt by Adobe to make Apple look bad in retaliation for Steve Jobs telling it like it is with Adobe and the buggy Flash program that had a gaping hole in it for 6 months before they got off of their butts and fixed it. Now I could be wrong about this but I doubt it.
        athynz
    • You mean like they did to Microsoft?

      Yeah, I say do it!
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • maybe this time is the right time

        Apple after MS
        Quebec-french
  • RE: Report: DOJ and FTC investigating Apple (Updated)

    Nothing like knocking down a company when they're
    successful. Shame for shame!! [shaking head]

    p.s. Reminds me of the song...Dirty Laundry by Don Henley.
    Arm A. Geddon
    • Clueless

      Firstly, no-one is knocking down Apple. It is simply an investigation as to whether any laws have been broken. If not, the Feds will go away.

      Secondly, there are VERY good reasons for having antitrust laws. If you were to study some US economic history, you may understand why.

      If Apple has violated any antitrust laws they should be prosecuted, plain and simple.
      Economister
      • Clueless?

        You talking about me? I would hope not as I don't get into pissing
        contests. So to avoid one with you I'm only going to reply to you once...

        I HAVE NO COMPLAINTS IF THE DOJ OR FTC ARE INVESTIGATING THIS
        INDEPENDENTLY BUT NOT BECAUSE OF COMPLAINTS FROM COMPANIES
        THAT ARE THEIR COMPETITION!!

        GET IT!!
        Arm A. Geddon
        • Complaints are normally filed by other companies.

          I thought you apple zealots knew how to read the news. AMD complained about Intel, probes launched and Intel fined.

          Dell complained about LCD manufacturers, probe opened, companies fined.

          Netscape opened a complaint about IE, probe opened, largest fines ever.

          read more.. it might help open your mind.
          Been_Done_Before
          • The Difference is ...

            The Manufactures who Dell Sued controlled the
            Market.

            Microsoft controlled >80% of the PC market with
            Windows when Netscape sued.

            Intel has over 80% market share.

            Apple has 20-25% of the smartphone market.
            Apple is only on one Cell Phone Carrier. RIM
            has >40%.

            Adobe doesn't stand a chance.
            Komplex
          • Two things you're missing...

            Apple may not have more than 25% of the phone market BUT...

            1.) ...they DO own pretty much 100% of the iP/P/P development market with the clause in the iP/P/P v4 OS. This is, mind you, after they previously allowed other development tools on their OS.

            2.) The iP/P/P ecosystem is expanding very quickly.

            As such, the DOJ is likely to be keeping an eye on them. Maybe to prevent things from getting too far out of hand.
            Wolfie2K3
          • RE: The Difference is...

            And Apple has 100% control of the App Store, including whose apps get in, whose apps get shut out, and...whose tools you now *must* use in order to develop apps for their App Store.

            Yeah, it's time for the DoJ to look into the possibility that Apple is involved in not only restraint of trade WRT iPhone/iPad apps, but also in the excessive restrictions they've put in place to keep developers from using anyone else's development tools.
            M.R. Kennedy
          • 100% of who's App. store??

            Apples? You mean they control what they sell??
            These arguments are getting more and more surreal by the day.

            BTW, the Android app. store has 40,000 Apps. Does Apple control these
            too?
            Tigertank
          • So Apple has 100% of their OWN app store

            And your point is? APPLE owns the servers the online store is on, maintains those servers, and moderates the apps. How is that any different from someone who owns a brick and mortar store and decides what they want to sell inside those walls? So what if I open a store and I don't sell product XYZ or I use only shipping company ACME then the DOJ gets to come in and tell me how to run MY business. I don't think so.
            athynz
          • Re: Apple Zealots

            Very funny with the name calling. First time I've been called an Apple Zealot. Apple Geek? Yes. But not a Zealot. Also, I've been called a Linux loonie. Oh well, I don't mind. :-)
            Arm A. Geddon
        • Double clueless

          Your brain is obviously toast.

          Who do you think is going to raise a flag about any companies behavior in most cases?

          The competition. What actions do you think has raised so many legal issues for Microsoft over the years? The complaints of competition largely, some of it from Apple I'm sure.
          Cayble
          • Go away Mr. NBMer.

            You opinion isn't worth sh*t to me!! Most cases yes but not all. Is your other alias "ye"? I want details. Capiche?
            Arm A. Geddon
      • Since stormy brought up the thing about stocks...

        If you follow the stock market at all, you are aware that a company's
        short-term share price has little to do with their balance sheets,
        earnings, etc. It is mightily affected by rumor and innuendo. Even the
        threat of a federal investigation can drive a stock down and have a
        negative effect on lots of investors. So yes, you are right that if there's no
        infractions, it will not be a problem for Apple--except that, in the short
        term, their stock could take an undeserved hit because of all the negative
        publicity about a "probe".
        Userama