Changes to Apple's developer agreement could spur antitrust inquiry

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  • Reply 101 of 208
    the cool gutthe cool gut Posts: 1,714member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    Apple should have nothing to worry about on this one. The iAD issue though is likely to be considered monopolistic behavior though, since they are using dominance in one area (mobile devices) to dominate a separate space (mobile advertising). Wonder what their lawyers and PR people have planned to say...



    Apple doesn't have dominance in mobile devices. They do very well, yes, but they would have to hit 60,70, 80% market share before regulators could do anything.
  • Reply 102 of 208
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by depannist View Post


    Actually, many people seem to be missing a key point that Steve Jobs has made a few times. Apple does not want to be at the mercy of cross platform tools creators, i.e. Adobe. When Apple releases OS 4, there won't be a single cross platform tool that supports every new feature that Apple put into the OS. Only the XCode SDK will support every feature. If Adobe and others are unable, for one reason or another, to support the latest features of the OS, that can minimize Apple's competitive edge. When Apple puts unique features into their latest OS, they want developers to take advantage of these features to help differentiate their product from others. This is what they believe gives them the competitive edge thereby gaining more customers. Cross platform tools tend to level the playing ground and often take away "unique features" of a platform because it costs them, i.e. Adobe, too much resources to put extra effort into supporting features that are only available for a single platform such as the iPhone.

    It's certainly easier for a developer to get the apps onto multiple platforms using cross compiler tools, but it does lead to a less than optimal experience for each platform. Steve may be a tyrant, but I think he's right one this point.





    I understand this, but its the app developper problem to not used all the features, it should not be regulated by Apple, but by the market.



    If an app sucks because of it, then it would normally sell less. For example, if you port your app from Android and it doesnt support multi-task and there is a competing app that does support it, then the ported app should sell less or be price cheaper. Competition is the key.



    Again, regulating how an app was code is pushing it... the way you coded is not Apple business if the executable works.
  • Reply 103 of 208
    the cool gutthe cool gut Posts: 1,714member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RationalTroll View Post


    Almost as long as Apple themselves:



    Final Cut Pro is still written in Carbon, and is still 32bit. In other words, it's okay for Apple to neglect Cocoa for Final Cut Pro, but it's not okay for Adobe to take their time.



    It's not as easy as that for Final Cut. Apple first had to write Quicktime as 64bit cocoa, which they just did - and that was a major overhaul. Presumably, Apple can now write Final Cut in 64 bit as well. What's Adobe's excuse?
  • Reply 104 of 208
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


    That isn't the point of the inquiry.



    Hypothetical - You build a home automation system and want to create a mobile interface. You have resources to create one application. You could have written it once and ported to all mobile platforms, but Apple has blocked that. You can? I gather that Adobe hasn't been able to get Flash working on any cell phone platform tells me not.]



    So you have to write the iPhone app because Apple control most of the mobile application market, the other mobile platforms just miss out.



    Because your software is good people buy an iPhone over a competitor... and the cycle continues.



    I'm not sure when astute business practices and the leveraging of market power becomes grounds for an antitrust case. I'm guessing that is what the inquiry is for.



    Interesting. I just got a car that is completely metric. Now I can't use all the tools I have on it. Maybe there should be an inquiry on the car manufacturers as well.
  • Reply 105 of 208
    jahonenjahonen Posts: 364member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Soskok View Post


    Why no such inquiries about developers being force to choose developing for OS X/linux/Win etc ?

    Bullshit, just bullshit



    Because nobody is forcing to develop for any of those. Also because 3rd party development environments and their resulting apps are permitted in these environments?



    Like in a free market giving developers free choice over the target environment AND development environment is the current standard?



    Apple looks to be doing clever PR in trying to lock in developers of iPhoneOS Apps into its own Dev Kit. Thus making it harder to create the apps for competing platforms (developers having code in multiple development tools instead of one code base for all). Isn't this where the beef is? Flash may be **ite, but it doesn't necessarily mean ALL 3rd party dev environments are does it?



    Regs, Jarkko
  • Reply 106 of 208
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Onhka View Post


    Interesting. I just got a car that is completely metric. Now I can't use all the tools I have on it. Maybe there should be an inquiry on the car manufacturers as well.



    The way I look at this, your comment is the best analogy I have seen to date.
  • Reply 107 of 208
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are pursuing an antitrust inquiry over Apple's changes to its iPhone developer agreement, which banned the porting of Adobe Flash apps to the iPhone OS, according to the New York Post.



    The Post reported on Monday that the DOJ and FTC are "locked in negotiations" over which will formally begin the antitrust proceedings. Both are allegedly looking into Apple after the Cupertino, Calif., company added a clause to its developer agreement for the upcoming iPhone OS 4 software upgrade. That addition specifically prohibits the development of applications using "an intermediary translation or compatibility layer too," which bans the porting of software originally written for Adobe's Flash, Sun's Java or Microsoft's Silverlight/Mono to the iPhone OS.



    Apple's change prompted Adobe to abandon further development of an application included in its just-released Creative Suite 5 that allows developers to port Flash applications to the iPhone OS. Such applications will be rejected from the App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad under the new developer agreement.



    The Post noted that an inquiry does not mean any action will necessarily be taken against Apple. Inquiries are initiated to determine whether a complete investigation will be conducted.



    "Regulators, this person said, are days away from making a decision about which agency will launch the inquiry," author Josh Kosman wrote. "It will focus on whether the policy, which took effect last month, kills competition by forcing programmers to choose between developing apps that can run only on Apple gizmos or come up with apps that are platform neutral, and can be used on a variety of operating systems, such as those from rivals Google, Microsoft and Research In Motion."



    The news comes just days after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wrote a scathing essay on Adobe Flash, criticizing the Web format as unfit for the modern era of mobile computing. Flash was created for the "PC era," Jobs said, for use with PCs and mice. But he argued the format is not meant for touchscreens and results in poor battery life for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.



    Jobs also contended that intermediary tools, like the one found in Adobe's CS5 for porting Flash to the iPhone OS, result in substandard applications and result in developers who are dependent on a system that will not offer all of the latest features of Apple's own development tools.



    Adobe's CEO quickly fired back, disputing Jobs' claim that most Mac OS X crashes are caused by Flash, and instead suggesting those crashes are an issue with Apple's operating system. He also said the comments about Flash draining battery life were "patently false."



    As Apple has banned Adobe Flash from its mobile devices, Adobe has responded by embracing Apple's chief competitor in the handset space, Google Android. This weekend, one report alleged that Adobe has plans to give its employees new Android phones running Flash Player 10.1, the new mobile version of the format set to be introduced at Google's I/O conference in May.



    The Post noted that while Apple has continually portrayed itself as the underdog, its $237.6 billion market cap now exceeds Walmart, the largest retailer in the world. In addition, Apple last week became the largest phone maker in the U.S. after rival Motorola reported sales of 8.5 million handsets in the quarter, less than Apple's own sales of 8.75 million iPhones.



    I think it's more likely, that the world of software will change. There's been heated arguments about whether or not Apple can tell people they can only run their software on Apple Approved hardware. There's an overwhelming number of people who will tell you companies do not have to support other hardware... but they do not have the right to limit which hardware you can run software on. I really support this idea... only because of Apple's pricing strategies. Anyway that said, I don't think anyone can say this story is completely made up. There may be some truth behind a possible investigation. Whether fan boys want to believe it or not. Truthfully I don't think anyone knows, and we'll all just have to wait and see.
  • Reply 108 of 208
    hellacoolhellacool Posts: 759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


    For what it's worth as of 01/2010 Apple controlled 99.4% of the market in question.



    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...es-in-2009.ars





    EDIT:What WilliamG said...



    And there it is. Everyone is arguing the hardware, the issue at hand is the app store itself. Apple is using there market position to influence the market, its future development and its growth. Microsoft has a 80%+ market share in OS, if they decided to only allow programing to be done using VB and .net the world would be in an uproar.
  • Reply 109 of 208
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post


    Without expressing any opinion on the ultimate merits of any specific charges, the relevant market seems to be the telephone app market. The anticompetative action would be the dominant player specifying that any apps it sells cannot be manufactured in a manner which would allow any competing store to sell it for other devices.



    Apple has not done that. They do not prohibit any developer from taking their native XCODE developed project and porting it to another platform. No tools currently exist to do this, you might complain. Well tough shit. That is not Apple's fault or responsibility.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


    There are a number of cross-platform tools for the mobile platform. Apple just blocked them... I gather that is what the inquiry is about!



    Apple is only attempting to control what is done on their own platform. Nobody is blocked from using cross-platform tools on non-Apple platforms.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post


    But one last reply before i go. Adobe can't step it's game up if there is NO CHANCE they can get their product on the iProducts. That's this scenario, hence all the hubbub.



    Apple does not want to have to depend on Adobe EVER stepping up its game.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by depannist View Post


    Actually, many people seem to be missing a key point that Steve Jobs has made a few times. Apple does not want to be at the mercy of cross platform tools creators, i.e. Adobe. When Apple releases OS 4, there won't be a single cross platform tool that supports every new feature that Apple put into the OS. Only the XCode SDK will support every feature. If Adobe and others are unable, for one reason or another, to support the latest features of the OS, that can minimize Apple's competitive edge. When Apple puts unique features into their latest OS, they want developers to take advantage of these features to help differentiate their product from others. This is what they believe gives them the competitive edge thereby gaining more customers. Cross platform tools tend to level the playing ground and often take away "unique features" of a platform because it costs them, i.e. Adobe, too much resources to put extra effort into supporting features that are only available for a single platform such as the iPhone.

    It's certainly easier for a developer to get the apps onto multiple platforms using cross compiler tools, but it does lead to a less than optimal experience for each platform. Steve may be a tyrant, but I think he's right one this point.



    Excellent summary.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


    That isn't the point of the inquiry.



    Hypothetical - You build a home automation system and want to create a mobile interface. You have resources to create one application. You could have written it once and ported to all mobile platforms, but Apple has blocked that.



    So you have to write the iPhone app because Apple control most of the mobile application market, the other mobile platforms just miss out.



    Because your software is good people buy an iPhone over a competitor... and the cycle continues.



    I'm not sure when astute business practices and the leveraging of market power becomes grounds for an antitrust case. I'm guessing that is what the inquiry is for.



    Ok, write it for iPhone and then bitch to Adobe, because they don't have a cross-platform tool to port iPhone apps to other platforms.
  • Reply 110 of 208
    depannistdepannist Posts: 28member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


    I understand this, but its the app developper problem to not used all the features, it should not be regulated by Apple, but by the market.



    If an app sucks because of it, then it would normally sell less. For example, if you port your app from Android and it doesnt support multi-task and there is a competing app that does support it, then the ported app should sell less or be price cheaper. Competition is the key.



    Again, regulating how an app was code is pushing it... the way you coded is not Apple business if the executable works.



    Indirectly, it is Apple's business. There's 000's of Flash developers out there that have no desire to learn ObjC. That's their prerogative. But Apple doesn't want them to become the developer majority because then Adobe, by developer volume, would be the ones dictating the rate at which new features of the iPhone OS are adopted instead of Apple. In this instance, it's not "the app developer's problem" as you say, it's a problem of the tool not supporting the latest features.

    Competition is indeed the key. Making all apps the same on every platform reduces the ability of the hardware vendor to differentiate their products. If the new iPhone has a front facing camera, will Adobe's toolkit support it immediately, or will there be a 6-12 month lag? If most developers are using Adobe's toolkit, why would any consumer bother to buy that phone since there won't be much software available for it until "Adobe" supports it?

    If you were Apple, wouldn't you want to protect yourself from this situation?
  • Reply 111 of 208
    masternavmasternav Posts: 442member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post


    I think that the concern is when the dominant player institutes rules that hinder competing companies.



    In this instance, the dominant app seller will not allow apps on its platform if they are manufactured in a manner which allows them to be also sold by competitors.



    I don't know if the concern is valid or not.



    again - we need a logic check: Apple has not prohibited developers from developing for other platforms, even if their apps are in the App Store. Apple has just stated that you must only develop for the App Store using the tools that they approve to so do. You can develop for any other platform you want using whatever tools you want, but you must use the tools that Apple specifies to use for the App Store.



    For some developers this will be problematic - they don't have the wherewithal to build with different tool sets for different platforms and therefore have to pick and choose which platform it makes the most sense, revenue-wise to develop for. Currently that probably for most is the Apple App Store. But not all.



    Some will choose (for example) ideology ahead of revenue and develop for Android, at least until Android has enough marketshare to directly compete with the App Store. Some will simply find it easier to develop for "everyone else" other than Apple and that's fine too. It creates a competitive environment, and puts developers more in demand for their very good apps (assuming they are of course). And of course all the pundits and analysts assume that each decision Apple announces is writ in stone - which a brief glance at Apple's recent history tells us is not so. Apple has created a best-case scenario for the moment which they will drive until circumstances cause them to change course and adapt. And Apple does that quite well now.
  • Reply 112 of 208
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    What market are they supposedly monopolising? Not the smartphone market. The iPhone market?!

    If you define the market small enough, anyone is in breach of antitrust.



    1. This is the NY Post

    2. The DOJ, FTC and Apple are involved with several lawsuits dealing with patents at the moment.

    3. The rest is fantasy.
  • Reply 113 of 208
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Acting in what way? Trying to ensure the best user experience in the market? When did that become illegal?



    You have plenty of phones to choose from - even plenty of smart phones. Heck, Android fans are claiming that Android has overtaken the iPhone -- and the iPhone was never even #1 (something like 15-20% of all smart phones or 2% of all mobile phones, IIRC). So not only was Apple not in a controlling position, but the Android people are claiming that Apple's position is declining.



    Please be specific - what would be the grounds for an antitrust suit? What is the market? What anticompetitive action has Apple taken?



    Acting in a way which restricts people being able to promote their business on a device that has become increasingly dominant in the market. As I mentioned in my initial post I'm not sure there are any grounds for action here, but anti-trust regulators have a track record of sniffing around companies that restrict businesses access to a market by using their dominance.



    I don't think Apple have a problem here, as their market share is not big enough (and as you say, you can chose another phone/tablet etc.), but if their marketshare were 90% (i.e. where Windows is), what Apple are doing is not that much different to what Microsoft did with Internet Explorer.



    Apple seem to be out to destroy Flash. I'm not in for yet another incredibly dull debate about the merits or otherwise of HTML5, but the regulators will be seeing that. Apple have rejected multiple applications from the app store for relatively spurious reasons.



    I'm all for Apple defending their turf and trying to ensure great (and secure) user experience and actually support them rejecting a lot of the apps (and for the record I won't be unhappy to see Flash disappear), but Apple must have been expecting this. The regulators are being relatively consistent. The fact that many people on this board seem incapable of thinking Apple might be doing anything negative doesn't affect the real world.
  • Reply 114 of 208
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    What market are they supposedly monopolising? Not the smartphone market. The iPhone market?!

    If you define the market small enough, anyone is in breach of antitrust.



    Possibly none. The article doesn't say there is going to be any action taken. Maybe the anti-trust regulators will find Apple are doing nothing wrong (I suspect that will be the case), but having a highly public spat with another company is likely to be drawing the regulators attention.
  • Reply 115 of 208
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


    Looks like 80% of the people responding did NOT understand AT ALL what this is all about. Its not about flash support, its about tools to convert flash into iphone OS code. Apple wants to forbid it, which is clearly illegal if you ask me.



    I hope nobody asks you for anything..
  • Reply 116 of 208
    qualiaqualia Posts: 73member
    Here's what I gleam from the Android geniuses:

    1) The iPhone has a MONOPOLY on the smart phone, but the Android phones have already overtaken the iPhone in the market.

    2) The App Store is the most lucrative app market at the moment, which is Apple's fault that Android users, which supposedly outnumber iPhone users, don't pay for Android apps or Android developers don't charge for them.

    3) Expecting a company to tweak code to run well on all platforms is unrealistic; in fact, one person (not just one company) can write a game ONCE in Flash and port it to the PS3, Wii, 360, DS, PSP (and get it licensed by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) without having to tailor the code to any of those machines. If that person has to change just ONE SINGLE BYTE to get it licensed and selling on any of those systems, then it's anti-competitive, draconian, evil, Nazi, etc.

    4) Apple should cater to geeks more and mainstream consumers who just want products that work well less.



    I understand some people have a grudge against Apple, but this is all so very silly.
  • Reply 117 of 208
    masternavmasternav Posts: 442member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JustReelFilms View Post


    I just downloaded the flash cs5 trial from adobe.com, got a simple animation with critters running around. So I compiled it to the iPhone, it does not go through XCode but creates object files, assembly files during build time. It does create ARM code.



    I then copied the app and ran it to my iPhone and boy it was laggy. I rebooted and still was laggy around 10fps and stops for a few milliseconds in between. I launched Instruments to test CPU and app analysis. To my observation, there are way way too many libSystem.dylib calls just to draw one frame.



    As an iPhone developer, I never seen something so highly unoptimized even if is AOT compiled in arm.



    Also, the actual Flash IDE app is not well written. I have Geektool running polling for system.log and running Flash CS5 gives me tons of NSAutoreleasePool warnings every second. NSAutoreleasepool manages object memory/garbage collection and prevents memory leak. Now I know why adobe apps crashes upon quit!



    Dude - thanks for that! FTW!
  • Reply 118 of 208
    doctor daviddoctor david Posts: 820member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by druble View Post


    That is just it. Flash is not working well on Apple products....not any other products.... What is so hard to understand about it works on everything else. How is the product flawed when it works so well for the majority of people. All of a sudden the same product dosnt work well on OSX, and you don't think OSX is the factor. It makes total sense that Flash runs great on everthing but OSX because OSX is the limiting factor. It runs like junk on Mac because OSX is junk.



    This is one reason the inquiry won't result in an investigation.

    You state yourself that flash works great for a majority of people.



    They'd have to force Microsoft to have flash on their upcoming mobile os because they plan on banning flash also.



    I suspect adobe realized a direct lawsuit would be too expensive, would likely be a loser and would take so long that any victory would be a pyrrhic one. Instead they decided to see if the FTC or doj would do their dirty work for free.
  • Reply 119 of 208
    masternavmasternav Posts: 442member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post


    The cost is not the tools, it is the time needed to redo the software if you choose to develop for iOS.



    Apple is saying "We have the dominant platform. If you want in on it, your work will be worthless elsewhere."



    If they are doing it in order to harm the other platform's ability to get good software, with no other reason, then the question comes down to whether Apple has monopoly power in a relevant market.



    But as I have said, the definition of the market and any legally cognizable reasons for Apple's actions are not yet clear.



    If you did a quick check you would see that RIM, not Apple holds the majority position in the smartphone category world-wide. Apple is not saying "we have the dominant platform" anywhere. They are saying "we have the best platform and the best tools and market delivery system". They are NOT responsible to help developers develop for other platforms.



    Developers (we hope) are adults and understand how to best invest their revenues in developing for any given platform. Remember, Windows Mobile, Zune marketplace, Symbian/Maemo, and RIM were all in the app space long before Apple entered it. They also have specifications for the developers to meet. Whether they allow developers to develop in a "one-size-fits-all" tool is up to them, just as it is up to Apple to make that decision. If the choice is between a well-constructed, slightly arbitrary controlled entry system like Apple's App Store, that has a proven (now) revenue-producing program and dedicated user population, or a smaller less revenue-intensive developed system like Palm/HP/WebOS, Android, Symbian or RIM, they have a choice to make. Not the FTC nor the DOJ.



    By your logic Microsoft should have made it easier for developers to port Windows apps to the Apple platform - is that really the statement you are trying to make?
  • Reply 120 of 208
    masternavmasternav Posts: 442member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post


    While you raise good points, I think that if any company had as big a slice of the game market as Apple has of the telephone app market, they too might be the subject of an inquiry.



    While the Apple platform comprises a tiny, tiny slice of the worldwide phone market, the app store has a much bigger piece of the telephone application market.



    I'd be surprised if that was not the subject of the inquiry. Apple is NOT dominant in the cellphone market. They are not even in the top 5.



    And to be quite pointed about it: the market in question is the apps developed for the iPhone, which is a mobile device, smartphone subcategory. The apps developed for the iPhone are not portable to other platforms as there is no other platform in the mobile device, smartphone subcategory that runs iPhone apps ( said market would have to be one that either allowed a higher level API translation layer to re-address iPhoneOS API calls to the suitable platform API calls in question, or ran a virtually identical version of the mach-kernel based iPhone OS ).



    Apple owns 100% of the App Store application space. In which case yes they are a monopoly in that space. But as I have stated quite clearly previously, they do not have to actively support developer work for other platforms - that is clearly an anti-competitive market stance to take and does not reflect how a competitive marketplace operates.



    There is no "telephone app market". There is no unified mobile device, smartphone subcategory application market yet, as there is currently application that runs uniformly on all platforms.
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