Apple faces U.S. antitrust investigation over iPhone OS programming tool requirements?

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“After years of being the little guy who used Washington to fend off Goliaths like Microsoft, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is about to learn what life is like when the shoe’s on the other foot,” Josh Kosman reports for The NY Post.

MacDailyNews Take: Puleeze.

Kosman continues, “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.

MacDailyNews Take: What Apple’s doing is perfectly legal and any antitrust inquiry launched over it would be a joke. Especially since Apple does not have a monopoly.

Kosman continues, “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.”

MacDailyNews Take: If the DOJ and FTC focus on that, they’re complete and total idiots. Why not just set fire to U.S taxpayers’ dollars instead? At least the DOJ/FTC pyro would get some fleeting light and warmth out of it. Apple, which has no monopoly, by the way, has the right to protect its platform as they see fit, including banning the concept of lowest common denominator porting which results in homogenized, inferior software versus apps that are produced to take advantage of individual platforms’ strengths.

Kosman continues, “An inquiry 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. Typically, regulators initiate inquiries to determine whether a full-fledged investigation ought to be launched. If the inquiry escalates to an investigation, the agency handling the matter would issue Apple a subpoena seeking information about the policy.”

MacDailyNews Take: In other words, this whole article’s foundation is even shakier than Windows’.

Kosman continues, “The threat of Apple being the subject of an investigation would be a remarkable turnabout for a company that has long seen itself as being outside the establishment, and one that has egged on antitrust officials to blunt the momentum of larger rivals.”

MacDailyNews Take: There is no real threat. Kosman writes for a tabloid.

Kosman continues, “However, thanks to the popularity of the iPod and iPhone, Apple is having a tough time continuing to play the role of David fighting against Goliath. Indeed, its market cap of $237.6 billion exceeds that of the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, whose market cap is $201.7 billion.”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s market cap in this discussion is as meaningless as the question of whether Apple is illegally abusing something that they do not have.

Kosman continues, “In forcing computer programmers to choose developing an Apple-exclusive app over one that can be used on Apple and rival devices simultaneously, critics say Apple is hampering competition since the expense involved in creating an app will lead developers with limited budgets to focus on one format, not two.”

MacDailyNews Take: Tough. You want access to the vibrant iPhone OS platform, you do it Apple’s way (just like developers who program for PlayStation and/or Xbox and/or Wii do it Sony’s way and/or Microsoft’s way and/or Nintendo’s way, respectively). If not, you’re welcome to excrete generic apps for whichever of the world’s other platforms that you so desire. Apple isn’t stopping you. Go “compete” with lazy, downmarket write-once ports on inferior platforms. Have fun.

[Attribution: 9 to 5 Mac. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dominick P.” for the heads up.]

60 Comments

  1. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I will not buy applications from LAZY application developers who don’t know how to make optimized programs using the “native” language of the phone (and who then blame the hardware for not making up for inefficient code).

    You developers can go ask people to “supersize fries.”

  2. Another attempt to scare investors away and drop then stock price so that the big guys can get in low before the next big announcement ( blockbuster earnings, wwdc, etc)…

    Much like the out of proportion blow up of the last SEC investigation of back dating stock option which the idiot press perpetuated for months when the iPho e was released…

  3. This I’d typical of big ass govenment bureaucrats–sue the pants off the people who have the money.

    Apple, you’re just too successful. We need to just “spread it around” a bit. AlGore don’t you have friends to call the dogs off?

  4. Oh, for Pete’s sake…. Does Apple’s decision limit choice for developers? Sure it does. Does that mean it’s illegal? Of course not. And if it is, then the system (which is in place to encourage fairness for the sake of better products for people) has failed.

  5. You never know what this lot in Washington will do next. Just look at what they’ve done in the past year to screw up our future.

    Roll-on November and 2012.

  6. MDN is politically naïve if it believes that the Obama Administration will not be going after Apple Inc. Just last week, President Obama said “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

    It’s arguable that Apple is approaching monopoly status for smartphones and apps. Monopolies are not illegal, but abusing a monopoly is, so Apple must be careful about that going forward.

    If the feds come after Apple, I trust that Apple will not repeat Microsoft’s biggest mistake: agreeing to a settlement with the USDOJ – and then violating that agreement. Janet Reno was ready to burn down the Microsoft compound after that.

  7. Idiot!! The next thing they will ask Apple to open source , give out all their R&D;to public for FREE!

    That is how they kill off competition by push govt. to do the dirty work!

  8. Anything stopping adobe from offering a tool that would import an Xcode project and translate it to flash?

    I mean, that seems to be the more logical system–write to the most used platform and then use a tool to translate for the others, adobe had things backwards–write to something that doesn’t yet and translate to xcode.

  9. Probably someone at DOJ have Adobe stocks or relatives who are Flash developers.

    Developers already can make apps that at once an run on all platforms – it’s called HTML5/JavaScript/Webkit.

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