by Tom Kaneshige

Is Apple Another Microsoft?

May 03, 2010
Consumer ElectronicsiPhoneLegal

Either the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission will look into potential anti-trust behavior from Apple.

Another big player may enter the ring in the Apple-Adobe brouhaha: Either the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission will look into the legality of Apple’s Flash ban, according to a story in The New York Post.

The DOJ and FTC are negotiating over which organization is going to take up the anti-trust inquiry. The inquiry will focus on whether the ban kills competition by shackling programmers from using third-party developer tools, a source told The New York Post.

[ Apple may just be an evil empire in the making, writes’s Tom Kaneshige. | Last week was a wild one for Apple. ]

Apple CEO Steve Jobs blasted Flash in a blog post last week. He complained that Flash is closed technology that drains battery life. Thus, iPhones and iPads won’t be supporting Flash anytime soon. Adobe’s stock fell two percent that day.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen fired back, saying Jobs’ technical complaints are a mere “smokescreen” to Apple’s real intent: apps that run only on Apple mobile devices. Now mobile app developers will need “two workflows,” one for the iPhone OS and another for the other mobile platforms that support Flash.

The decision over which department will make the inquiry is reportedly only days away.

In an ironic twist, Apple historically has played the role of the underdog, calling for inquiries into the monopolistic behavior of its competitors. With the success of the iPhone, however, Apple is now the giant in question, with its actions subject to review.

Tom Kaneshige is a senior writer for in Silicon Valley. Send him an email at Or follow him on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline.