Apple could face Flash antitrust probe

Regulators are debating whether Apple’s decision to ban applications developed in Flash and similar frameworks from its products violates antitrust laws.

Apple could face Flash antitrust probe

Although Flash is nearly ubiquitous on the internet, Steve Jobs has banned it from Apple products claiming the company needs “to leave the past behind.”

Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department enforce US antitrust law, and are locked in negotiations as to which will take on the probe, according The New York Post.

What they’re (Apple) doing is clearly anticompetitive. They want one superhighway and they’re the tollkeeper on that superhighway

“What they’re (Apple) doing is clearly anticompetitive,” said David Balto, a former FTC policy director. “They want one superhighway and they’re the tollkeeper on that superhighway.”

Apple, Adobe and the Justice Department declined to comment. The FTC did not respond to a request for a comment.

After months of sniping at one another, the feud between Apple and Adobe broke into the open last week, when Jobs published an open letter where he slammed Flash as unsuitable for mobile devices.

Jobs slammed Flash as “closed and proprietary”, but critics said the company is abusing its position. “For us and the whole developers community, it really locks us into a single platform,” said Michael Chang, chief executive of mobile ad network Greystripe.

Chang said a basic iPhone app might cost $75,000 to build on Flash, and a few thousand dollars more to convert for Android. But with the new restrictions, a developer must spend another $75,000 to build the app from the ground up for a non-Apple platform.

“For a small or medium-sized company, it becomes a real financial issue, and that’s how it becomes anticompetitive,” he said.

The iPhone has generated huge interest from app developers, who have created more than 200,000 programs, or apps, for the platform. Developers get 70% of the revenue they earn, while Apple takes 30%.

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