Feds to look at Apple’s policy on programming tools

Federal regulators plan to examine whether Apple Inc. is violating antitrust rules by requiring software developers to use Apple programming tools to create applications for the iPhone and iPad, reports the Associated Press. Officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are sorting out which agency will examine Apple’s new policy, according to a person with knowledge of the inquiry. Apple’s policy prevents developers from using outside tools such as Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash format, which is used in many web videos, games, and interactive graphics, to design apps for Apple’s popular devices. A key question facing federal regulators is whether Apple hurts competition by forcing software developers to choose between designing apps that can run only on the iPhone and iPad and those that can run on rival devices such as Google Inc.’s Android phones and Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry. Apple’s new policy, which was announced in April along with changes to the iPhone’s operating system, has raised concerns for Adobe, which includes Flash as part of a package of software tools sold to professional designers and web developers. Although Apple’s decision to ban Flash limits what its iPhone and iPad can do, the popularity of the devices has led many software developers to design apps without the format…

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