Apple To Face Antitrust Investigation Over Its iPhone Development Policies?

from the better-things-to-do dept

The FTC and the DOJ are reportedly holding talks over which group will launch an antitrust inquiry into Apple's policies regarding app development for the iPhone and iPad. Apple recently made a change to the terms of its iPhone SDK, barring developers from using third-party development tools. Apple claims it did this to ensure that iPhone apps are of the highest quality, but the real reason appears to be to push developers to only develop for the iPhone, and not other rival platforms. The behavior may be as annoying as it is unsurprising, but it's hard to see how this warrants antitrust action and government intervention. Apple isn't restricting access to that market completely, they're just forcing developers to use certain tools in order to participate in it. While Apple is trying to throw its weight around for its own benefit, what its doing may not necessarily be illegal -- but that doesn't mean it's a good idea either. This policy seems likely to fail in the marketplace more quickly than any resolution through government intervention could take effect.


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    jjmsan (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    Conclusions

    "While Apple is trying to throw its weight around for its own benefit, what its doing may not necessarily be illegal...."
    So how do you suggest that the Government decide if it is illegal without launching hearings?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 5:37pm

      Re: Conclusions

      That's some really odd logic.

      So how do you suggest the government decide if it is illegal for you to be typing a sentence without launching hearings?

       

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    cryptozoologist (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:11pm

    nothing to see here...

    this is no different than console game manufacturers controlling their platform. consumers who don't like having to ask apple what software is ok for their own phone have plenty of other options.

     

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      David, May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:20pm

      Re: nothing to see here...

      The difference is that Apple prohibits a lot more than just this, they want to control everything from the Operating System you use to develop the tools, all the way to the application getting to the appstore.

      You can get Sonic on the Wii. God forbid you get Google Voice on an iPhone...

       

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        indeciSEAN (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:52pm

        Re: Re: nothing to see here...

        and literally as i was typing my response to you, someone chimed in. i'm sorry, but that "comparison" is piss-poor. you might be able to get sonic* on the wii, but you're not going to see "final fantasy 13" or "halo" or "bioshock" and a bazillion other titles there, just as you're not going to see the mario or zelda franchise on the ps3. no one goes after sony, microsoft, or nintendo shouting about how they can't play any game they want from the history of time (all the while trying to correlate that an evil corporation is the one fucking them over)..... no one forced anyone at gunpoint to buy (or develop for) apple, and the fine print people seem to think they can ignore and bitch about later leaves the company enough loopholes shit can change. * depending on which particular "sonic" title you're referring to.

         

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      indeciSEAN (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:45pm

      Re: nothing to see here...

      i was thinking that the entire time i was reading the article and would be curious to see an explanation of why it's different (as i'm sure someone here is going to argue it is)

       

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      Alan Gerow (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:50pm

      Re: nothing to see here...

      And can you explain why it's no different?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 5:21pm

      Re: nothing to see here...

      Last I checked, you have UT3 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

      Why? Well, from what I could figure, if you want to develop game, first, you must produce the game's code for whatever platform you prefer first (I guess PC, since it is the most generic) and then you use a cross-compiler to produce a binary that will run on another platform (like Xbox, or PS3).

      What Apple has done was deny you the option of cross-compiling your code. If you create an application not designed for the iPhone, you can't port it to the iPhone. Conversely, an iPhone application cannot be ported to other platforms.

      The console makers do not deny you the option of creating your game for one platform and later porting it to theirs.
      Apple does.

       

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        rwahrens (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 5:45am

        Re: Re: nothing to see here...

        "Conversely, an iPhone application cannot be ported to other platforms."

        Why not? Apple only restricts the use of that translation layer on their own platform, but cannot logically restrict you from porting a game from the iPhone to, say, Android.

        Their purpose is controlling the quality of apps developed for their own platform, not to try to control the entire market - which is not only illegal, but impossible in the manner you describe.

         

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      JEDIDIAH, May 3rd, 2010 @ 7:20pm

      A Garden of Pure Ideology

      Actually, what Apple is doing is CONSIDERABLY different than what console manufacturers do. Nintendo doesn't micromanage game development to nearly the same level that Apple is attempting.

      Apple's defenders in this are typically technically clueless and get the details horribly wrong.

      If Microsoft were to pull this sort of nonsense, the same people would be calling for Balmer's blood.

      Admitting that the iPad a glorified DS is one thing. Trying to claim that Apple is less restrictive than Nintendo simply contradicts the facts.

       

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    Beta, May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:11pm

    conspiracy theories

    "...the real reason [for barring third-party tools] appears to be to push developers to only develop for the iPhone..."

    On Freedom to Tinker, Ed Felten presents another theory: basically, Apple wants to prevent someone from writing a Turing Machine app that can run other apps, apps not under Apple's control. The tools that Apple is banning are the tools that could lead to that kind of capability.

    As for the legal aspect,

    "Apple isn't restricting access to that market completely, they're just forcing developers to use certain tools in order to participate in it."

    I am not a lawyer, but this seems to me like a distinction without a difference. I don't know what "restricting access completely" means, unless it means giving no one at all access, and somehow I don't think that's what the law is about.

     

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    David, May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:15pm

    Finally!, this was going too far, the approval process, the insane policies, the blocking of whatever they wanted...

    If you need Steve Jobs to release letter explaining the reasoning behind your actions, and why "they are good for customers", and some facts on his letter are untrue and hypocrite, you kind of have this coming.

    Apple was supposed to be cool, now they are greedy and as evil as evil gets.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    If Microsoft required all developers on the Windows platform to use its own particular programming language/development environment I feel like it would be a clear anti-trust issue.

    Obviously, the iPhone's market share isn't anything close to that of Windows (and if you look at the broader "smartphone" market it isn't necessarily even the leading platform), but that doesn't mean Apple isn't using its market position to engage in the same sort of anti-competitive moves, or that those moves aren't still illegal under anti-trust laws. It just means the case isn't so clear.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:30pm

    And that evil tool that Apple forces people to use to compile their programs? GCC! Oh no! How dare they force people to use that closed and proprietary compiler! The cads!

    Oh wait...

     

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    Dave Reynolds, May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    Sucks...probably not an antitrust case...

    As someone pointed out in the comments, Game Consoles and a bunch of other embedded equipment force you to use their own development tools. I'm a mobile developer and this annoys me, but what really freaks me out is Apple prohibiting use of a subset of the APIs in their developers agreement. Also, the somewhat arbitrary nature of accepting or rejecting apps to the store is unacceptable. A small developer could burn through months of labor only to have the app rejected. A preliminary review process would be helpful rather than the "build it and we'll tell you if you're screwed" approach.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, May 3rd, 2010 @ 7:22pm

      Re: Sucks...probably not an antitrust case...

      > As someone pointed out in the comments, Game Consoles
      > and a bunch of other embedded equipment force you to use
      > their own development tools.

      Then what's with all of the ads for "middleware" in Game Developer Magazine?

      This is exactly the sort of stuff Apple is trying to ban.

       

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      Etch, May 4th, 2010 @ 4:36am

      Re: Sucks...probably not an antitrust case...

      "A small developer could burn through months of labor only to have the app rejected"

      This happened to too many developers, way too often, if you want a complete list go to the third party app stores and check them out, they are in the thousands. Of course not all of them got rejected from the Apple stores, but a very good majority did, and they had no choice but to go these competing stores where you have to jailbreak your pone to get anything to work.

       

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Oy

    "Apple recently made a change to the terms of its iPhone SDK, barring developers from using third-party development tools. Apple claims it did this to ensure that iPhone apps are of the highest quality, but the real reason appears to be to push developers to only develop for the iPhone, and not other rival platforms."

    No. Apple did it to ensure that programs written for the iP* are written for the iP*, and not just an afterthought of something that was written for a WIMP UI.

    (Or, in other words, that iP* apps are of the highest quality.)

     

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      Alan Gerow (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 3:57pm

      Re: Oy

      But, this is a question of implementation, not platform.

      You can write a crap app using Apple's tools, or you can write an awesome app that does incorporate iPhone/iPad specific interfaces & features without using Apple's toolkit.

      It's a form of discrimination to blanket say "all apps written using X platform suck, and only apps written with OUR SDK are good" ... because it's placing a value on quality without looking at the content. It's similar to saying "no immigrants should be allowed in the US because none of them speak English well and they all smell like weird food, because only people born in America speak English well and smell good."

      Essentially, if all the Adobe compiled apps are of unacceptable quality, isn't that what the insanely restrictive app reviewers are for?!? Why not allow the GOOD apps written using Adobe's products in, and deny the crap ones. Why do they just do a blanket ban?

      Oh, that's right ... Apple's SDK only runs on Macs. So, if you want to write iPhone/iPad apps, you have to pay money to Apple for one of their computers first.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 4:11pm

        Re: Re: Oy

        "Oh, that's right ... Apple's SDK only runs on Macs. So, if you want to write iPhone/iPad apps, you have to pay money to Apple for one of their computers first."

        Bingo. This restriction was the very first thing that pissed me off when I signed up as an iPhone developer. As an old Newton developer, I figured they would follow that model -- there was no built-in restriction limiting development platforms to be a Mac.

        This is a huge limitation, as it requires me to assemble and maintain a development machine solely for the iPhone, rather than using the same machine I use for all my other development. Since there's absolutely no good reason for it, it is clearly yet another money-grab and lock-in on Apple's part.

        None of this behavior of Apple would gall me as much if Apple didn't carefully nurture an image of some kind of open, free, good guy. The 1984 commercial and all that. The reality is that they are just as bad as those they claim to be an alternative to.

         

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          Some Random, May 4th, 2010 @ 5:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Oy

          "Oh, that's right ... Apple's SDK only runs on Macs. So, if you want to write iPhone/iPad apps, you have to pay money to Apple for one of their computers first."

          So my question is this. How likely are you to spend the time porting an iphone app to the android market or the other way around? Which market do you try and sell your product to first?

          By creating such a restrictive policy Apple is trying to encourage the talented individuals already developing apps to continue create exclusively for their market. At what point do these freelance developers become quasi employees?

           

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            John Fenderson (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 6:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Oy

            "How likely are you to spend the time porting an iphone app to the android market or the other way around? Which market do you try and sell your product to first?"

            I suppose that if I were to develop an iPhone app that was a huge hit, I might port it elsewhere. But the reality is that the iPhone is not an attractive enough market to warrant the hassle and expense of having a completely separate development platform for, let alone having to take a chance on the capriciousness of the app approval process.

            So the answer to your question is really that, aside form one application that I'd already committed to do, I will not be doing any iPhone development at all. It's simply not worth it to me.

             

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 4:59pm

        Re: Re: Oy

        "But, this is a question of implementation, not platform."

        Yup.

        I'm not entirely comfortable with Apple's line here, but I understand why they're doing it.

        Essentially, they don't want anyone to write primarily for Flash (or any other cross-platform framework) and have the iP*'s unique capabilities go underutilized.

        The fact that Adobe has been pissing on Apple's leg for a decade and some change doesn't help, I'm sure.

         

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      AC, May 3rd, 2010 @ 7:18pm

      Re: Oy

      "ensure that iPhone apps are of the highest quality" is totally subjective. So all the apps in the app store are already of the highest quality? Absolutely not.

      It's development dictatorship. Quality assurance(I use the term loosely) is set up (at the moment) via the submit and review process in the app store. And as we've heard, and we all know it's rigorous at best, arbitrary at worst. What right does any one company have to dictate how the end product should be built, so long as it complies and functions on that system?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 7:29pm

      Re: Oy

      in other words, they're saying: "we don't think you can tell what a good app is, so we're going to do it for you."

      shitty stuff will eventually tank like always, and good stuff will survive. oh right, EXCEPT when you have someone throwing around undue rules, haha i forgot that's what this was all about.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 4:08pm

    Who maintains the Flash codebase?

    I read somewhere that a simple "Hello World" app developed in Flash-To-iPhone was around 8mb in size. If Flash made use of the existing APIs and SDK, it should be a few kilobytes.

    It seems that flash-based apps may introduce new APIs or the equivalent of shared libraries, which would need to be maintained either by Adobe or Apple. If this is the case, it could create downstream customer confusion and/or compatibility issues to the operation and maintaining the iPhone OS as well as the Flash Codebase. Think of it like maintaining .Net Frameworks on the PC.

    Taking this into account, it's easy to see that the additional steps may affect Apple's Support model and downstream costs involved with customer eduction/re-education that pertain to customer expectation, legacy application compatibility, as well as hardware performance.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 5:29pm

      Re: Who maintains the Flash codebase?

      "I read somewhere that a simple "Hello World" app developed in Flash-To-iPhone was around 8mb in size. If Flash made use of the existing APIs and SDK, it should be a few kilobytes. "

      I think it was a half meg in Object C, vs. 3-4 megs in Flash.

      File size isn't the final metric, of course, but it does illustrate why Apple wants stuff to compile in Obj-C. (And remember, native apps only came about because HTML5 wasn't ready for prime time.)

       

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    Pangolin (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Total Bunk....

    The allegations are total bunk. I'm not sure what else to say but Apple is well within their rights and they are pursuing what is in their minds a good business strategy. The Government needs to butt out. As always.

     

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      Alan Williams (profile), May 3rd, 2010 @ 5:08pm

      Re: Total Bunk....

      Of course Apple is pursuing what is in their mind a good business strategy. The 'best' strategy is one where all competitors are eliminated and no new entrants allowed, however this is a monopoly. All strategies are a subset of this 'best' strategy, the differences being a matter of scope. The Government when aware of a company's monopolistic strategy that is too broad in scope must act in order to protect the market.

      Apple may be well within their right, however the Government must look at the effect Apple's actions are having on the market. Then, to the extent appropriate, curtail said actions until the market is corrected.

       

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        rwahrens (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 5:58am

        Re: Re: Total Bunk....

        How many times do people have to be reminded that a monopoly is NOT described as one company restricting development for their own products?

        Apple may have a hot products in the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad universe, but those products are NOT even close to being monopolies in the wider markets in which they are sold. Every company has a "monopoly" on their own products, but that is not what a monopoly is.

        The only time the government may restrict Apple's actions is if they become so large a seller that their actions automatically affect the market - that's when they become an actual monopoly.

        This move is not anti-competitive, it only affects the ability of developers to make apps for Apple products, they are free to port those apps to other platforms or write new code for those platforms.

        It also fails to have any affect on developers that do not develop for Apple's platforms.

        There is no negative affect on the market at this time.

        Of course, it is common for these government entities to hold inquiries - those are preliminary hearings to determine if there is probable cause to escalate the matter to a true investigation. Many such inquiries fail to be so escalated due to a lack of evidence.

        I am sure that such will be the case here.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Total Bunk....


          How many times do people have to be reminded that a monopoly is NOT described as one company restricting development for their own products?

          Anti-trust laws cover more than just monopolies. They also cover anti-competitive practices. And the move by Apple to essentially ban cross-platform apps (well, they at least make the bar quite high) could easily be seen as anti-competitive. Well worth a closer look by regulators, IMHO.

          Having said that, I am not an iPhone developer or user (for many reasons) and I don't really care what Apple does on their own platform. I personally think this will just drive more developers away from the platform. Apple has already got a (well-deserved) reputation as being unfriendly to developers, and this is just yet another anti-developer policy.

           

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            rwahrens (profile), May 6th, 2010 @ 7:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Total Bunk....

            But anti-competitive practices are not illegal in and of themselves. They only become illegal if a company has the market influence to stifle competition in the market they sell in.

            Apple does not have such influence in the smart phone market with only a 16% or less share.

            And since Apple's rules only affect developers that develop Apple apps and does not affect their ability to develop for other platforms, there is no harm and thus no foul.

             

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    KevinD, May 3rd, 2010 @ 4:46pm

    Apple might run afoul of net neutrality rules

    There is no correlation with game consoles, because this is about a phone.

    When you make a device that uses public airwaves, then you can end up with a responsibility to meet FCC net neutrality rules in return. And that means not trying to block apps in any manner.

    The last time the FCC got involved, all of a sudden ATT was okay with some iPhone apps that were previously banned from 3G connections. And Apple suddenly looked at some apps differently.

    This is not the iPod market.

     

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    K.I.S.S, May 3rd, 2010 @ 5:08pm

    @3

    ya i think you have it and to put it more simply in laymens terms the word restriction means there is some access but not as much as there maybe can be.

    AND WHY NOT mister jobs
    seriously get everyone writing apps for you, ok hire people and create an economy to check the apps out hten publically say why and if your wrong the users will let you know.

    KISS
    KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, May 3rd, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    btw

    if a game developer wants to PORT a game to linux or UNIX or any older windows he/she/they are allowed. THERE is no reason you cant INCREASE your MARKET share and thus what apple does is in fact restricting the economy to allow the same app across more platforms in an anti trust attempt to CONTROL USING restrictions and its monopoly control of the iPhone device in the sale and or use of the WHOLE of a market.THE actions HARM others and htis is an anti trust action. IF i made apps previously for not only and iphone but say android and other phones now i am harmed in that i must PAY more to develop on the iPhone and cannot simply and easily make a one app that can be used across platforms using my own api's.

    THIS i think is the govts reason on why plus those reasons given before.

     

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      rwahrens (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 6:15am

      Re: btw

      "...and its monopoly control of the iPhone device..."

      {sigh}

      EVERY COMPANY HAS A "MONOPOLY" OVER IT'S OWN PRODUCTS!!! DUH!! APPLE IS NOT A MONOPOLY, AND HAS NO SUCH CONTROL OVER ANY MARKET!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: Who maintains the Flash codebase?

    "File size isn't the final metric, of course, but it does illustrate why Apple wants stuff to compile in Obj-C. (And remember, native apps only came about because HTML5 wasn't ready for prime time.)"


    Yeah, I've read several conflicting reports about it. But, another issue may be Apple's future preference to move software-based functions to the hardware. For example, video codecs or other common features. It's not unreasonable for a company with a chip fab at it's disposal to move intensive computation such as video decoding features into a function on custom silicon. H.264 specifically, has come up several times. Taking it a step further, here may be other features and functionality that they're moving to custom silicon that running in memory that was necessary in the past for compatibility.
    Continuing to offloading execution to the main processor would prove to move the platform backwards-- in the direction a technology progressive like Jobs *really* desires. :-P

     

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    Ian, May 3rd, 2010 @ 6:07pm

    Apple are lying. This has nothing to do with quality of apps, as they have done nothing to address rules regarding quality of code at all.
    It's obvious what is going on here: Apple are terrified of growth of Android both in market share, and rate of new apps. Apple, in a blatant move to cut the legs out from under its competition, is trying to make it a LOT more difficult to do cross-platform development.

    This is anti-competitive. This should indeed be examined by the US Government.

     

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    Radjin, May 3rd, 2010 @ 6:11pm

    It's Apple's device

    You follow thier rules or go elsewhere. How can it get any simpler? If the other platforms are so good, leave Apple, go program for them. This whole issue is a total waste of time and good taxpayer money. Let the people vote with their $ and keep the government out of it, anything the government gets into is screwed up.

     

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      Bengie, May 3rd, 2010 @ 6:37pm

      Re: It's Apple's device

      Yeah, let Microsoft include/do whatever with their OS. If you don't like it, go get Linux or something.

      See what I did there?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2010 @ 7:57pm

    funny, when microsoft does this its evil and anti trust, we must sue microsoft to allow me to use whatever I want on your product, w/e, but when apple does it, its good business, its the same thing, apple and microsoft are now the same company

    does anyone sue ford, because you cant order the mustang with the corvette engine installed??

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 2:06am

    "The 'best' strategy is one where all competitors are eliminated and no new entrants allowed, however this is a monopoly. All strategies are a subset of this 'best' strategy, the differences being a matter of scope."


    Exactly! Because "Embrace, extend, extinguish" worked real well for Novell, Banyan vines, IBM and Borland when they worked with Microsoft. I agree with your idea, and maybe Apple should embrace a reverse of "Embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy and have Adobe make a GCC-compliant IDE, or an IDE that makes code based on open standards.

     

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    Ben (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 3:42am

    I think the major problem with this is not only does it limit you to Apple development tools, those tools are only available on Macs. At least with the Flash development tools that would compile into Objective-C, they were available on Windows computers.

     

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    Niall (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 4:49am

    So is anyone likely to find 'creative' ways around these limitations, or is it simply a matter of developers/users voting with their feet?

     

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    Philip Storry, May 4th, 2010 @ 5:21am

    Not a good analogy

    The games console analogy isn't very good...

    Developers are generally free to use whatever tools they like to develop games for consoles. It's true that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all license the games and won't allow them to ship without their approval, but that's enforced through trademarks more than anything else. If you've never signed a contract with them then nothing is stopping you from shipping without approval, you'll just have a very hard time marketing it.

    Most famously, Nintendo refused overly violent games a license/approval back during the early nineties, making them virtually unshippable because you couldn't put the Nintendo logo, the machine name or other information consumers needed to know for compatibility purposes on them.

    When you remember that people had to go into shops to buy these games, and would often rely upon such logos to know they were buying the right one for their system, the lack of approval from Nintendo/Sega/Sony/Microsoft becomes a big issue.

    However, for the App Store on Apple's platform, this is an entirely artificial limitation. QA checks like "doesn't crash" and "fits in the user interface guidelines" are very easy to reason, but "must be written in our tools only" begins to look like it's preventing an app from being ported to other systems.

    Personally, I don't think that it's the job of the government to go looking at this yet. Apple doesn't have a monopoly as such, and this is something that the market can still easily correct - developers can just switch to Android, S60 or WebOS.

    On the other hand, if a company behind a competitor like Android, S60 or WebOS has complained - or perhaps even a few developers - then the government is duty bound to look at it.

    I'll reserve judgement until that point is cleared up. And hope that the market can correct itself before the glacial gears of government grind too far...

     

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    rwahrens (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 6:10am

    "...but "must be written in our tools only" begins to look like it's preventing an app from being ported to other systems."

    Why? How is it that an app CAN be ported TO the iPhone OS if written specifically for Flash (which is what everybody seems to want to do), yet cannot be ported the other way if written in Objective C? I thought these porting tools allowed code to be cross compiled in either direction?

    It MIGHT matter IF Adobe had a mobile version of Flash to begin with - but that worthy application is just vaporware. Flash doesn't run on ANY mobile platform currently, because Adobe hasn't released an app that works on mobile systems yet.

    Which is EXACTLY what Steve was talking about - even if he WANTED to allow Flash, the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad OS is 'crippled' by the lack of that version of Flash, because, as usual, Adobe is late in releasing such a version!

    Vaporware, again.

     

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    rwahrens (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    but overall

    Gene Steinberg has a very good take on this:

    "When it comes to developers, who gets cheated if an app doesn’t support new iPhone features because the third-party tool that built that app only provides the bare minimum of compatibility? What’s the point of Apple developing 100 new features for the iPhone, if loads of apps don’t use them? Developers may have to spend extra money developing an exclusive iPhone version, but they will also gain access to the largest and most successful online app store for smartphones in the world. That is not something from which they would easily walk away. It also means they will have more satisfied customers, since their new apps will support some or all of the iPhone’s latest and greatest features."

    http://www.technightowl.com/2010/05/get-ready-for-the-spin/

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 10:46am

      Re: but overall


      "When it comes to developers, who gets cheated if an app doesn’t support new iPhone features because the third-party tool that built that app only provides the bare minimum of compatibility? What’s the point of Apple developing 100 new features for the iPhone, if loads of apps don’t use them?


      The real problem with this argument is that no app needs to use all the features of the phone. In fact, there may be many high quality apps which need no new features at all.

      Whether or not a dev is using a third-party tool, new phone features will generally take time for widespread adoption for multiple reasons (ease of integration with existing code, breaking backwards compatibility, etc) By the time even native apps may have apopted a new feature, third party tools are likely to have caught up. Especially for high-demand features.

      This new-feature-use quality metric is totally bogus.

       

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        rwahrens (profile), May 6th, 2010 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re: but overall

        But why should Apple take the chance? There WILL be apps that DO take on those new features, as some new features Apple has added have been long sought after and desired by the market.

        Just because SOME software MAY not use them is no argument for Apple continuing to allow the future development of their own ecosystem to be hobbled by a third party that has no reason to care about Apple's profits or shareholders.

        And that is Steve's whole point.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Oddly enough, I don't think the majority of the people commenting here really know what they are talking about when it comes to cross compilers, how they are used, or why someone would want to use cross compilers and third party tool-kits.

    1. Anti-trust vs Monopoly. You don't have to be a monopoly to come under anti-trust laws, you only have to do something monumentally anti-competitive, and have a controllable market share. When it comes to an online app store for the mobile market apples has that.

    2. Developing for other platforms. The point of cross compilers is to make it easy to develop for multiple platforms at the same time. Such as building the quake engine on a PC. Then using a toolkit and cross compiler to port it to the PS3, Xbox, and WII. In practice there are a few more steps but the basic idea is the same. Banning third party tool sets means that the cost of porting far exceeds the cost of just starting fresh.

    3. The government looking into this as anti-competitive this early can be a very good move. That means if things go as apple wants the punishment could be very draconian, as opposed to waiting three years... when there would be consumer lock in.... and apple has what they want. Then it gets painful while everyone waits years for it to make it through the court system and the same people that comment about how its apples platform and they should be allowed to do anything they want demand to know why the government didn't do something sooner.

    4. Anyway, as someone that has ported things from one platform to another, cross platform toolkits are very common in the industry. You should look at the sales figures for the cross compilers that were already in use for the iphone. People keep pointing to Adobe but as far as I know their cross compiler hasn't even been released yet... while some of the best apps in the apple store were already developed using cross compilers.

    5. This new rule will actually force many of the venders in the app store to rewrite their apps if they want to update sense such toolkits are already in use there.

    Just my 2 cents.

     

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    rwahrens (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 10:29am

    @ac,

    1. No, Apple doesn't have that. The Apple app store applies ONLY to Apple products, and not to any other company's products. Anything they do here is perfectly legitimate, as it controls ONLY Apple products. It is not in any way a marketplace for ALL mobile platforms. Just because they only want native code used in iPhone/iPod touch/iPad OS apps in no way affects how developers develop for other platforms. They are free to use cross compilers for the other platforms.

    2. Not all developers use these cross compilers. This rule does not stop you from developing for Apple products, or any other product.

    3. The government looks at all kinds of things on a regular basis, and few of these inquiries result in active investigations. Seeing as how there has been no official announcement of even the inquiry, it is premature to speculate on whether Apple has a potential problem.

    4. People are pointing at Adobe because of Flash, which has yet to release a mobile version of that app. As usual, it's late to the table.

    5. ...and a lot of developers won't need to at all, because they were smart enough to use Apple's APIs in the first place to take advantage of the iPhone OS's full feature set.

    Developer's choice.

     

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    Chromanoid (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    apple fanboys... strange breed

    @all those who defend apple... why?

    apple tries to limit others and at the same time they claim flash would be proprietary, restricting and evil. with the opensource technology "adobe flex" which runs on flash players you can develop flash stuff with anything you want. http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/
    when you want to develop iphone apps you have to use xcode and a mac. flash development on the other hand is free. just use FlashDevelop and the FlexSDK for example. Other Flash generators like swish etc. are on the market for ages.

     

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      Chromanoid (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 11:44am

      Re: apple fanboys... strange breed

      btw look at http://www.openscreenproject.org/ for the efforts of adobe to make flash an open standard

       

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      rwahrens (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

      Re: apple fanboys... strange breed

      ...and yet, Apple STILL has to wait for Adobe to support new Apple features when Apple releases a new product. Adobe is ALWAYS a year or more late to do this IF they ever do at all.

      Flash IS proprietary, it is owned, lock, stock and barrel by Adobe who controls it's release and development completely.

      Flash defenders - an equally strange breed!

       

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      Chromanoid (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

      Re: apple fanboys... strange breed

      btw look at http://www.openscreenproject.org/ for the efforts of adobe to make flash an open standard

       

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        rwahrens (profile), May 6th, 2010 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re: apple fanboys... strange breed

        Not a bit different than Microsoft trying to make their Office formats "Open Standards".

        One will still need Adobe products to design, write and release Flash content on the web. A blatant attempt to force their software on an entire industry.

        If and when Adobe releases flash development software into open development like Apple did with Webkit, I'll buy that their attempt may be sincere. but not until.

         

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          Chromanoid (profile), May 10th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: apple fanboys... strange breed

          >>One will still need Adobe products to design, write and
          >>release Flash content on the web. A blatant attempt to
          >>force their software on an entire industry.
          wrong... as i said there is adobe flex. it is more comfortable with the adobe suit but you can develop flash for free.

           

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    Chromanoid (profile), May 4th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    "...and yet, Apple STILL has to wait for Adobe to support new Apple features when Apple releases a new product. Adobe is ALWAYS a year or more late to do this IF they ever do at all."
    they don't have to. of they do not want to wait they could implement their own flash player or helping the open swf player gnash to evolve. i think it is only a question of time when adobe releases the flash player code. project tamarin is only the beginning http://www.mozilla.org/projects/tamarin/.

     

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      rwahrens (profile), May 6th, 2010 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      Of course they do. If Adobe doesn't support a new feature - like touch control - Apple doesn't control the flash player code to do anything on their own. That is all proprietary and owned by Adobe.

      They have to wait. Like EVERY mobile phone OS maker has had to wait, because Adobe has NOT released a Flash player for any mobile platform as of this date - it is still vaporware.

       

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        Chromanoid (profile), May 10th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Apple's way of saying that they do not want to support flash & co is just not tolerable. Instead of flaming Flash they just should say the truth: they want to protect the iphone experience and they want to control the app market. I could live with such a statement because I know Apple is a commercial enterprise...
        if i were adobe i would threaten apple with stopping the development of the creative suite for their devices. apple harms the image of adobe in such a blatant way that apple can't be seen as a reliable neutral business partner anymore.

         

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    xeoh85, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 1:05am

    There may be a case...

    This is United States v. Microsoft all over again. If Apple is found to have a high enough market share to be labeled a monopoly in any particular market (whether it be smartphones, portable MP3 players, etc), then there will be a valid monopolization claim under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Apple's crusade against the Flash middleware is almost identical to Microsoft's crusade against Netscape and Java back in 1998.

     

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