I supported Apple CEO Steve Jobs when he trashed Flash and banned it from the iPhone's and iPad's iOS. I agreed with him when he was tough on the Website that purchased (probably illegally) a lost iPhone 4 prototype. But Apple has crossed the line at least twice this month, prohibiting app developers from using AdMob and Google's advertising services on the iPhone and censoring sexual content in iPhone and iPad apps.
Taken together, Apple's bozo moves threaten to deprive developers -- the lifeblood of any platform -- of needed income, and they place Jobs & Co. in the role of a digital ayatollahs, dictating what types of content users will access on their own hardware. Neither action is good for Apple's business, and they smack of monopolistic bullying.
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If Microsoft had done something similar, the walls would be shaking with protest. So where's the outrage when Apple plays bully? And how did Apple, which ran the famous ad of a hammer-throwing rebel smashing an image of Big Brother, become a Big Brother wannabe?
Late last year, Google announced that it was purchasing AdMob, the leading seller of ads inside iPhone apps. The $750 million acquisition raised antitrust concerns, but the Federal Trade Commission decided that the deal isn't likely to harm competition in the emerging mobile advertising market.
No sooner had the feds given the deal a thumbs-up then Apple turns around and uses its monopolistic power against AdMob and developers who work with it. ("Monopoly" isn't a dirty word. Remember: It's not illegal to have a monopoly; it's only illegal to use that power to unfairly restrain trade.)
"Apple proposed new developer terms that, if enforced as written, would prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google's advertising solutions on the iPhone," AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui wrote in a blog post. "Let's be clear. This change is not in the best interests of users or developers. In the history of technology and innovation, it's clear that competition delivers the best outcome. Artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress."