From the way Apple protects its iTunes business to theirefforts to block Google from competing equally on the iOS mobile advertising marketplace, Cupertino’s been provoking a lot of anti-trust talk lately.
Now it looks like the first official investigation into Apple’s business practices is about to be underway, courtesy of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, who has completed negotiations with the Department of Justice to examine whether Apple’s limitations on software that can be submitted to the App Store unfairly harms competition.
It’s unclear exactly what exactly the FTC’s investigation will entail, although it seems obvious that they will be focusing largely on Apple’s ban on third-party code interpreters like Adobe Flash. Whether this focus will expand to include the terms cited in section 3.3.9 of Apple’s iOS developer agreement — which specifically bars companies like Google and Microsoft from having access to the same analytic data available to iAd and independently owned third-party ad networks — is unknown.
Either way, this isn’t the only anti-trust investigation Apple is likely to face: the Department of Justice is also said to be in the preliminary stages of investigating whether or not Apple has an unfair advantage in digital music distribution.
Whether Apple is absolved of anti-trust charges or not, things have now certainly changed: Apple is now the biggest company in tech in terms of market capitalization, and that means they’ll have targeting reticules on them from hear on out. Apple can expect a lot more scrutiny in the way it conducts its business from here on out.
[via Boy Genius Report]