Apple faces antitrust review on coding restrictions

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Apple Store GenericApple might be in trouble with its restrictions after all, and it took them this long? Reports coming from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are looking in beginning who will be taking on Apple on an antitrust complaint on developing applications for the iPhone – the main question, however, is who will it be?

After the launch of the SDK for iPhone OS 4, it made restrictions on what programming language to make the applications, including Objective C and Javascript. Apple claims that this is to keep the quality of applications, but it also seemed to be a hit on Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 software.

As well, an investigation would most likely also look into how restrictive Apple is to develop on – web applications can’t use Flash and must use the “open” HTML5, despite audio and video codecs not being decided on after Apple and Mozilla conflicted on what to use; while app developers are not allowed to compete with many of Apple features – though there are some exceptions, but only are there because of loopholes. Take Opera, it uses Safari’s own browser to connect to its server to load the pages rendered like Opera Mini, alongside adding Opera Mini features and having the same look.

According to the New York Post, the inquiry might not result in a big change in policy because it determines if there is a case for launching a full-fledged investigation, and when it reaches that level, it will then issue a subpoena for more information about the case.

The case comes after a long case of being outside of the big names of Microsoft and Intel – both targets of antitrust reviews, and for Apple, it is usually with Microsoft. And one guy is happy.

“To be honest, it’s about damn time,” Jacob Friedman said on The Next Web. “Apple is lucky enough to own a few incredibly vague, broad patents, which make it incredibly difficult to innovate in the field of smartphones. Android was incredibly reluctant to include any multitouch in the earliest flavors of Android, lest Apple file an angry lawsuit against them.”

Friedman cites Apple’s lawsuit against HTC as a reason that Apple has become more anticompetitive.

However, while Apple has a lot applications, the iPhone is not the dominant phone out there. RIM’s BlackBerry takes the top spot with almost double of the market share (42 percent to 25 percent, according to comScore). Windows Mobile have 15 percent of the market – and that is dropping – while Android has 9 percent.