Government pressure forces Apple to Change its App Policy
In an uncharacteristic about-face, Apple Inc. loosened its control over software development for its iPhones and iPads as the company feels heat from a U.S. antitrust investigation and rising competition from mobile devices powered by Google Inc.'s Android software.
The move gives software developers more freedom to decide how to build their applications, or "apps." It will relax restrictions Apple introduced in the spring that had effectively blocked use of programming technology from Adobe Systems Inc. and potentially impeded Google's AdMob ad network from serving ads to Apple apps.
The concession comes after the Federal Trade Commission launched an inquiry around June to determine whether Apple had violated antitrust laws with the earlier policy. It isn't clear if Apple's move Thursday was in response to the FTC's investigation, but it will likely be carefully scrutinized by the regulatory agency, said people familiar with the situation.
An Apple spokeswoman didn't respond to requests for comment about the FTC probe. The FTC declined to comment. . . .