updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri June 11, 2010
Company may now be under regular scrutiny
Apple will probably dodge antitrust suits from the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Trade Commission, argue Stifel Nicolaus analysts Rebecca Arbogast and George Askew. The US government is considering whether Apple is being anti-competitive in several areas, but primarily in terms of blocking Google/AdMob from from app advertising, and preventing developers from employing cross-compilers, namely those based on Flash. Apple may have legitimate reasons for both policies, the analysts suggest.
Regarding app ads, Apple's excuse is effectively one of conflict of interest, as Google not only sells ads but produces its own mobile platform, Android. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has claimed that cross-compilers can result in sub-par apps. The question, say Arbogast and Askew, is "whether exclusionary policies are justified as robust competition, or cross a line into anticompetitive conduct."
Apple could indeed be in trouble if there are any company documents showing an anti-competitive agenda. This is what undid Microsoft in an earlier government investigation, the analysts remark. Even if Apple is absolved, it may nevertheless be under regular federal scrutiny from now on, and increase the threat of action with each controversial step it takes.