iPhone, iPad Games, Apps, Reviews, News Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 FTC to Investigate Apple Mon, 14 Jun 2010 18:08:42 +0000 Read More]]> Since the war between Apple and Google really started to heat up when Apple rejected the Google Voice iPhone app, the threat of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Department of Justice investigations has loomed over Cupertino. There has been a lot of talk in industry circles in the last year and a half about Apple’s business practices. While red flag words like uncompetitive and closed have been used freely, there seemed to be no lingering threat of governmental investigation. Boy Genius Report is now reporting that an agreement between the FTC and Department of Justice has been completed that allows the FTC to take the lead in a formal investigation of Apple.

While the details of the agreement or scope of the investigation have yet to be revealed, it can be certain they will investigate three main areas. The first is whether Apple’s ban on third party development tools and compilers is anti-competitive. We may have already seen a brief glimpse of Apple’s response to this aspect of the investigation when they recently revised their developer’s agreement. The second area is whether Apple’s ban on Flash is monopolistic and anti-competitive. This thorn in Apple’s side may finally come back to cause real problems. The last area is Apple’s ban on companies like AdMob from serving ads on the iPhone.

Unlike the 1997 FTC and Department of Justice investigation of Microsoft, Apple has a little bit of leverage. While dominant in mindshare and growing quickly everyday, Apple still has a relatively small share of the personal computer and mobile device market. While we hear about how dominant the iPhone is and how the iPad will crush the PC, Apple can still hide behind small overall market shares when the American government comes calling. There is no fear of Apple being broken up and the most they can really fear is a reprimand, a fine, and a directive to change certain business practices. If given the choice, Apple will probably let AdMob in if it means it can keep Adobe out of the iPhone environment. It might be the only concession needed and one it would grudgingly but willingly make.

What do you think of the investigation? Should governments stay out of a private corporation’s business? Are you happy the American government is looking into Apple’s business practices? Let us know what you think.

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]]> 3 Apple Antitrust Investigation Update Tue, 04 May 2010 17:33:51 +0000 Read More]]> Yesterday we reported a rumor from The New York Post that Apple (AAPL) may be facing an antitrust probe from the FTC or DOJ. Today a few other sources have weighed in on this issue with differing views.

Whilst there has still been no comment from either Apple or any government office on this subject, some journalists and industry insiders are already offering Apple advice .

The advice is basically to let developers choose their development tools by modifying the now notorious clause 3.3.1. Some believe this will be enough to mollify any investigators in a government probe. To me it smacks a little of desperation when the sources that this advice is coming from are analyzed more closely.

Allegedly the spark which ignited the possible investigation was indeed a complaint from Adobe about Apple’s new rules. But it has potentially been reenforced from a couple of different sectors of the tech industry.

Advertisers and agents, as well as corporations employing them, who were hoping to advertise with Apple are not enamoured with the price Apple wants to charge for blocks of advertising. Or the fact that Apple will also hold the whip hand initially at least, when it comes to producing iAds. A service which Apple will also charge a pretty penny for. And will hold a monopoly over until it makes tools for producing iAds available to advertisers and their agencies.

Furthermore mobile advertising companies like AdMob are not too happy that other parts of Apple’s Developer Contract apparently stop third party advertising services using customers information, particularly habits and location awareness, to tailor ads to their audience. That is something now reserved for iAd alone since the iPhone SDK Developer Contract update, as transmission of data from apps to third parties is now outlawed in clause 3.3.9.

All of these put together could possibly give the FTC and DOJ enough meat to get their teeth into while they weigh the possibility of a probe. But it would still be messy and complicated. As has been shown by some rather rudimentary questions that have come out of the FTC over the last day or so and been addressed to industry experts in what seems to be an information gathering exercise.

Most sage sources in the industry still think this probe won’t fly. And I tend to agree.

Are all these niggles enough to add up into a big ball of antitrust trouble for Apple? We’ll keep you posted.

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

]]> 3 Rumor: Apple May Face Antitrust Inquiry Mon, 03 May 2010 18:42:34 +0000 Read More]]> 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.

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