updated 11:15 am EDT, Tue August 10, 2010
Months left in investigation, source claims
The European Commission has joined with the US Federal Trade Commission in probing Apple policies towards Flash, a source for the New York Post claims. Little else is known about the effort, although the Commission has taken a strong stance on interoperability, with which Apple's locks on iOS and the App Store may come into conflict. A combined investigation could take as long as four to six months, the source says.
At the heart of the conflict is a sudden change to App Store rules several months ago, blocking the use of cross-compilers for iOS apps. While affecting other companies, the move is thought to have been aimed squarely at Adobe, which was on the verge of releasing a cross-compiler for Flash by way of Creative Suite 5. The technology was in fact going to be used for magazines such as the iPad version of Wired, and forced Adobe and publisher Condé Nast to come up with workarounds.
The Apple policy may violate competition laws, as it effectively forces companies to develop either for iOS or for other platforms, instead of both. For its part Apple claims the rules ensure the quality of apps, preventing companies from resorting to the lowest common denominator when coding. Apple, the FTC and the European Commission have declined to comment on recent events.