The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has launched an investigation to determine whether Apple is illegally using its mobile software to harm competitors. In question are recently-made changes to Apple's App Store rules, which some say effectively "bar Google and other rivals from selling ads inside iPhone and iPad applications, such as games." Is Apple breaking the law — or is this type of legal scrutiny (the latest in a string of government inquiries into Apple's business practices) simply part of becoming a technology giant?
It's about time: Finally, Steve Jobs is "going to be investigated for his antitrust antics," says Nick Farrell in The Inquirer. Apple has built a "near monopoly in the mobile advertising market." And it seems there's "enough proof" of this for the FTC "go after the scalp of Steve Jobs" in the same way it did to Microsoft's Bill Gates in the 1990s.
"Apple gets the Microsoft treatment by the FTC"
Apple isn't breaking the law: I hate to pop your anti-Apple bubble, says Jim Edwards in BNet, but "unless it comes up with a huge surprise, the FTC is likely to find Apple is not breaking the law." Firstly, competition in the mobile advertising market is "alive and fierce." Secondly, "it's legal to create a monopoly if your dominance is based solely on the superiority of your product."
"4 reasons the FTC won't find Apple's iAd anti-competitive"
It's all about government control: Regardless of Apple's guilt or innocence, says John C. Abell in Wired, this investigation simply proves how interested the Feds are in "online advertising." Just "weeks ago," the FTC "seemed to want to keep" Google (ironically, the "primary victim" of Apple's new rules) "from becoming dominant in mobile ads." So until the FTC releases its decision, all we really know is that the government plans to watch this quickly growing market like a hawk.
"FTC to review allegations Apple's iAd is anti-competitive: Report"
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