Report: EU joining FTC Apple probe

Reports point to the European Union's regulators getting involved in the FTC probe launched last month that is examining Apple's role as a mobile software distributor.

Josh Lowensohn
Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
2 min read
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Regulators from the European Union are getting involved in the Federal Trade Commission investigation of Apple's business strategies that was opened up in June, according to a New York Post report on Tuesday.

The inclusion of the EU regulators means the investigation could now stretch "another four to six months" before the FTC reaches any official conclusions, according to the Post's sources.

The focus of the probe, which remains unconfirmed by the FTC, centers on Apple's App Store developer agreement. In early April, Apple adjusted its wording in a way that outright barred developers from using third-party development tools such as Adobe's Flash Compiler, or in-game engines like Unity 3D.

The language within the agreement was further modified in early July to limit the types of data third parties could glean from inside of applications--a move that could effectively cut off companies like Google's AdMob from running its business on the iOS platform. Though based on public statements by Admob's CEO last month, Apple has not yet enforced this newer stipulation.

Beyond having the two governments working together, the inclusion of the EU could breathe new life into the hopes of Flash and other third-party platforms being able to run on Apple's closed ecosystem. Last year, the European Commission of the EU played a pivotal role in making Microsoft change the way it bundled Web browsing software in versions of Windows that were sold in European markets. And just a few years before that it did the same, requiring Microsoft to ship a version of Windows that did not include Windows Media Player.

In those two cases, the rulings were based on Microsoft being the target of antitrust investigations, whereas here, Apple is being targeted for its position in the mobile software market. Though it might not be like that for long.