More evidence that Apple is the new Microsoft: It may be on the verge of getting investigated by Uncle Sam for antitrust violations.
Apparently, Apple's new our-way-or-the-highway developers agreement for the iPhone has gained the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Department of Justice, according to a report in the New York Post. It seems that dictating to developers what tools they can use to build their apps and forbidding said apps from transmitting analytical data to third parties does not sit well with somebody in Obamaville.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Cringely commemorates a wacky week for Apple in "An iPhone thief unmasked, Jobs uncaged, and tablets unraveled" | Stay up to date on all Robert X. Cringely's observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]
(eSarcasm put its hands on an alleged Steve Jobs blog post responding to the rumors, but I'm not buying it.)
Meanwhile, Steve Jobs has been careening through the tech world like a drunken frat boy at a high society luncheon -- bashing longtime partner Adobe, trashing Android as a haven for porn, defending the ban on apps for their sexual or political content while allowing others with similar sexual or political content, and so on. That is, he's pretty much acting like it's Steve's world, and he just lets us live in it.
And then there's GizmodoGate. Siccing the computer cops on blogger Jason Chen and confiscating his computers was clearly an intimidation tactic -- spill our secrets and we'll make life unpleasant for you in any way we can.
Protecting their own, the formerly adoring media (present company excepted) has begun to turn on Apple. The New York Times' David Carr calls Apple's behavior in the whole GizmodoGate affair "churlish," which is probably the meanest word the Times' copy editors will allow him to use. He writes:
Apple executives have often behaved as though the ultimate custody and control of information lies with them, and the company has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect its interests. Yet for all of its spectacular achievements, Apple is exhibiting a remarkable tone-deafness in the issue at hand. As Apple is changing into a media company, as well, its Silicon Valley brand of aggression is running up against its broader ambitions.