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EC probes Apple for anti-competitive antics

Joins FTC in monopoly pondering

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It's not just the Federal Trade Commission that thinks Apple might be going all monopolistic - the European Commission is also taking a careful look into Cupertino's business.

The New York Post reports that the European Commission is working with its US equivalent, the FTC, to see if the practice of banning companies from iOS on the basis of their ability to compete with Apple (or its mates) is anti-competitive.

That's certainly how the iTunes application store looks from the outside. Bans on automatic porting technologies are one thing, and arguably unreasonable in themselves; but only applying them when the company has "adobe" in its name is hardly fair.

Companies such as Titanium and Grapple Mobile* have been happily getting ported applications into the store, in breach of a rule that now looks like it was imposed specifically to prevent Adobe's Flash slipping in.

Similarly, the ban on applications that interpret downloaded code is hard to justify, other than that it protects the vertical integration of the iTunes App Store. Allow someone to create a console emulator and they might start selling games direct - something Apple won't permit.

Apple claims that this is all in the interests of quality, and simplicity for its users, no matter how much it looks like Apple using its unprecedented level of control to shut out the competition. But even if the Commission agrees, it could decide that competition between suppliers is more important than either of those things. We'll find out in six months. ®

* Grapple has been on the phone to assure us they always play by Apple's rules, and would never consider converting anything to Objective C that wasn't originally written in Objective C.

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