Apple may face legal inquiry on Flash snub

Those of you who follow Apple news may know that with the release of iPhone OS 4.0, Apple added a clause in their terms and conditions that all software written for iPhone OS must written “directly in C, C++, or Objective-C” and developers can no longer “call any private APIs”. Effectively, this new barrier from Apple was a shun of Flash, blocking developers from using adhoc Flash on the iPhone/iPad (neither the iPhone or the iPad officially support Flash, and probably never will).

In reaction Adobe mentioned in the footnotes of their recently released financial statement that they [Adobe] may take a financial hit because of Apple’s decision to not have Flash on the iPhone/iPad (and companies do not include such a footnote unless there is a good chance of it coming true) and has announced that they [Adobe] will stop developing iPhone OS related Flash code. Of course, both Adobe and Apple have also “exchanged words.”

Now, the New York Post reports that the United States 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”. For those that don’t know, an “antitrust inquiry” basically means that Apple is being accused (or will be accused, if the inquiry goes forward) of purposely and illegally reducing market competition.

I find it very interesting that Apple may face legal action as a result of their Flash snub; I really didn’t think about it in terms if anti-competition when I first heard Apple announce the change – I simply thought of it is as tech giant vs a tech giant. However, I can see why it may be considered antitrust; and I really do hope Apple is held accountable. I am not an Apple hater or fanboy, per se, but I do believe Apple seems to be the only corner of the love triangle that has not come under the legal microscope (comparatively speaking); they are a bit too arrogant for my taste.

As a side note, Adobe has proclaimed that they will now focus all of their efforts for making Flash fully compatible with Android (Google’s open source smartphone OS); and Google has announced an Android update – to be released in June – will bring full Flash support.

Any thoughts on the matter? Feel free to share below in the comments.

Thanks Samuel!

[via Gearlog]

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38 comments

  1. JohnD

    As I understand the Flash/Apple thing is all has to do with battery usage.  Apple is really pushing for better battery usage, which is good IMO, and from a couple of ipad reviews I have read they are doing well in this regard.  Flash is supposed to really suck up the juice, with no relief in sight, I have read differing opinions on this, but Flash apparently Does use more juice than one would suspect.  I also think there is some corporate dick waving going on in this little tussle, but this type of behavior (closed everything) is not new for Apple by any means, and they will probably prevail in the end.  The ironic thing is that the Apple/Adobe relationship is one of the things that really got both companies moving long ago when Photoshop was an Apple platform only product.  I’m a Windows user exclusively right now, but I’ve used and supported Apple computers in the past and consider them overpriced and overprotective, but good for some users.  I need to get out and handle an ipad and see what the big deal is.

  2. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @JP: I haven’t taken any sides, nor am I defending Adobe. I simply commented on how I feel that Apple may truly be participating in anti-competitive action and they should be held accountable for that; the question isn’t about what Adobe is or what it does – the question is about what Apple is doing.

  3. mukhi

    @JP: we all read jobs words, rather statement, rather BS he comes up with. fairly evident that he is getting old, LOL.
    @Ashraf: well, mr. jobs pointed out some bitter truth about flash, IMHO, he is right, and that’s why i said flash is not good, however, HTML5 is still noobie, it has long way to go to get the same job done as flash does.

  4. Samuel

    @JP: I have read what he said, and his replies to people’s replies to what he said. Some of what he said is right, some of it is wrong. But it’s doesn’t matter what he thinks of Flash or Adobe, the question is what he did illegal.

  5. Samuel

    @Ashraf and @mukhi: HTML5 is what is being pushed as the replacement but for now it has some limiter so it can’t replace Flash, mostly the fact that no one can agree on stuff.

    @Ashraf: Flash is actually quite good, the problem is that it was meant to allow for vetor based animations, not for what we now use it for.

  6. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Samuel: Okay I haven’t seen all the ads, admittedly, but don’t you need drivers to connect your camera to Windows? Now you may not need always need proprietary drivers, but when you plug a camera into Windows it does need to be installed.

    That said, some of it may just be satire, I don’t know.

  7. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Oh, btw, Apply (and Google) have great PR – no matter what they do it is quickly swept under the rug and forgotten. Some may even say they have genies working in their PR departments. Poor Microsoft, on the other hand, gets hammered for everything it does and everything it doesn’t LOL!

  8. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @win7guru and @Samuel: Okay, I will bite – I love Apple ads. They always make me crack up. And personally I really don’t think there is anything wrong with the ads, legally or factually, or else Microsoft would be all over them. They are typical corporate America waging war ads.

  9. win7guru

    @Samuel: If he’s in jail, he will probably get past the guards with an even smaller Iphone/Ipad that can’t be detected by scanner wands.  Well I am starting to rant, but you are right in terms of the PR.  I have a confession to make, I too like the advertisements, but not the Get a Mac and PC ones.

  10. Samuel

    @win7guru: Fear no one! Besides if he does raid my house then I can ge him chucked in jail…I know waaaay too many Lawyers.

    Also as to Apple not having good PR…the press loves Steve too much, though if he’s in jail does that mean that Apple isn’t protected by him?

  11. win7guru

    @Ashraf: I agree with you because Apple does seem to be the only company that has had less scrutiny, in my opinion, with just about everything.
    1.  Application development being the top
    2.  Advertisements being too competitive (jabs at MSFT)
    3.  Mr. Job’s occasional pot shots at MSFT while being interviewed
     
    Overall, I feel that Apple is a good company, but makes some poor decisions as far as legality is concerned.
     
    Note: These are my opinions and do not solely express the views of Apple or its competitors, just a friendly comment session.
     
    P.S. Hopefully I won’t get blasted again for my comments :)

  12. newprouser

    I do hope they take some legal action against apple, they have had it coming for long with over monopolistic attitude. One can’t even replace a battery on his own apple product :(

  13. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Mick: I would agree if it wasn’t for the fact that Microsoft has faced lots of inquires for less in my opinion (i.e. bundling their Internet browser in their own operating system).

  14. Mick

    I’m an Apple hater.  But, I think this is silly.  They want a closed system, let them have it.  It’s their platform.  If they can continue to convince the sheep to buy it, good for them.