First came the iPod which revolutionized the personal digital audio player market. This came with proprietary software known as iTunes and the iTunes store which allowed users to fill their MP3 player with digital music. This was soon followed iPhone that was only officially available with wireless service from AT&T. The iPhone was more than a phone however, and users could download many applications to suit their needs. Apple coined the slogan “There’s an App for that” to reinforce the notion that no matter what your need, there was an app available that could handle whatever you through at it. While there where apps available from a variety of publishers, they shared one major thing in common, they are only officially available through the App Store managed by Apple.
Unlike any other computer vendor, Apple tried to retain unbelievable levels of control both their hardware and software. While there has been a low level murmur in the PC community for years that Apple was as much a monopoly as Microsoft and used many more anti-competitive practices than Microsoft to manipulate the market and remain in complete control of their products, it is only with the incidents occurring within the past month concerning Adobe and Flash development for Apple devices that this opinion of Apple has become more mainstream. When Apple released the Software Development Kit for the iPhone 4.0. the license agreement went as far as to stipulate what languages it was permissible to use to develop software that is designed to run on the iPhone. Due to the wording of this agreement, Flash, a development environment designed by Adobe cannot be used for iPhone development. Adobe brought this to the media and the media battle escalated to the point where Steve Jobs even publicly addressed the matter.
It is primarily this issue however that is causing Apple to be looked at very closely for anti competitive actions. The New Your Post reported yesterday that both the Justice Department as well as the Federal Trade Commission. This article (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/an_antitrust_app_buvCWcJdjFoLD5vBSkguGO) states that at this time an inquiry is taking place to determine if further action is necessary. While for years, Apple assumed the role of the little guy fighting an uphill battle against Microsoft, they are now a powerhouse in the industry due to the incredible popularity of the iPhone and the newly released iPad. They are using this newfound power in the industry to both further establish themselves and gain market share.
It is hard for anyone to argue that many of the actions of Apple are designed mainly to increase their market share. The question becomes if they are using their increased market share in an unfair manner to prevent other companies and developers from succeeding as well.