Rumor: Apple May Face Antitrust Inquiry

The New York Post has kicked off a rumor that Apple (AAPL) is days away from facing an antitrust investigation into its decision to place restrictions on the way that iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad developers can work.

Apple has effectively said that any apps published in the iTunes App Store must be developed using its own tools, and based on a certain subset of programming languages. Depending on which camp you are in this is either Apple simply being evil, or a reasonable set of restrictions to allow Apple to provide a stable environment for developers and customers alike as they try to push their platform forward and maintain market dominance. That last bit might be a problem in more conservative observers eyes. But business is business, and Apple is hardly breaking the law by dictating how it would like its business to run. People are free to choose other platforms after all.

Until this news is confirmed by a more reliable source, I would tend to think it is purely speculation, or a fishing attempt by certain hacks.

The gist of the article is something along the lines of someone has said that someone familiar with the matter has knowledge of ongoing discussions inside the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission about who gets to investigate the “case”.

It is possible it has been discussed inside the “government”, and even worth considering that the discussions were at the behest of Adobe. Who were rumored to have considered both legal and governmental angles to try and force Apple to allow Flash on its devices. Then again someone inside the government may have simply picked up the chatter on the web and raised it over coffee one morning.

Adobe have recently said they will not pursue the deployment of Flash on the iPhone, and are concentrating on other mobile devices instead. It should be noted that Adobe have not shown anyone a working version of Flash on a mobile device to date though.

This rumor is perhaps what sparked Steve Jobs to pen his letter on Flash last week.

Officials at both the Justice Department and FTC have apparently declined comment so far. Apple did not return calls seeking comment either.

We’ll keep you posted.

Let us know in the comments if you think Apple should or should not be investigated.

[nypost]

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Stephen NorthcottRumor: Apple May Face Antitrust Inquiry