Apple May Blink on SDK Restrictions for Mobile Apps: Report

Apple may be ready to relent in its strict developer rules in an effort to keep antitrust authorities off its back, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal citing sources "familiar with the situation."

The news comes one day after reports surfaced that authorities at the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice were in negotiations over which agency would investigate Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) over its rigid developer policies for the iPhone and iPad.

A spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) declined to comment, while Apple did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

The issue stems from a change Apple made to version 4.0 of its software development kit (SDK) license rules last month, which explicitly barred developers from using any APIs (define) outside of the ones prescribed by Apple and said they could only use Apple-approved languages and compilers.

Bloggers called it the "No Adobe clause." It was a further escalation in the battle between Apple and Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE), a company that was so vital to Apple in its early days. Apple has been ratcheting up a war of words against Adobe's Flash technology, calling it insecure and a resource hog.

Adobe has fired back with its own retaliations, dumping support for iPhone development in future versions of its Creative Suite, and reportedly giving its employees Android phones.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), now an entrenched rival of Apple in the smartphone race, is also stepping in to help support Flash on Android.

Antitrust regulators are looking into this from the perspective of Apple using its growing dominance in the marketplace to stifle competition in mobile devices, according to the Journal article. It also said that complaints from Apple competitors and application developers were the trigger for the investigation.

The iPhone is approaching the 50 million total unit mark, based on sales figures provided by Apple in quarterly earnings reports. Apple has sold more than 1 million iPads in its first month on the market.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


SDK, iPhone, Apple, FTC, mobile apps