Apple’s decision to ban Flash applications from its mobile devices has launched an antitrust inquiry against the company.
Steve Jobs really does not like Adobe Flash, a point he illustrated in an open letter citing six reasons Apple would no longer allow it on its mobile devices. In banning Flash, however, Jobs has forced devs to use Apple-specific development tools which stunts both multi-platform application releases and third-party software. This move has caused both the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to take note, and the organizations are currently negotiating to see which will take the lead in the inquiry.
Should enough questions be raised by the inquiry, a formal investigation will be held that will delve into Apple’s business practices to see if it is indeed in violation of antitrust legislation.
Outside of legal concerns, a number of critics have said the move may force developers away from Apple, instead developing applications for Apple competitors that allow Flash and thus make multi-platform release easier.
Whatever the eventual result will be, Apple’s recent actions have caused the government to take notice. With Apple’s rather draconian control of their application market, this might be just the thing needed to loosen the grip and put more control back in the user’s hands. Of course, a potential investigation like this can take years, so instead of waiting around some developers have decided to take matters into their own hands.