Apple is making it harder for developers to use cross-platform tools to write apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The latest terms of the software developer kit (SDK) for iPhone OS basically prohibit the use of tools like Adobe Flash CS5.
In other words, if you use the tools Adobe specifically developed to let you write an application once and export it as a Flash file or as an iPhone compatible app, Apple won’t let you sell you program in the iTunes App Store — which is pretty much the only way to make your app available to all iPhone users.
Adobe clearly isn’t all that happy about the situation. But now it looks like federal regulators might be looking into things as well. The New York Post reports that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are both considering an antitrust inquiry — once they can decide which agency should be in charge.
Bear in mind, an inquiry ain’t the same thing as a decision. While officials want to look into whether Apple’s insistence that you can only use certain tools to create iPhone apps is a violation of antitrust rules, nobody has come to a conclusion just yet.
But while Steve Jobs insists that apps written to run on a variety of platforms simply aren’t as good as apps developed specifically for the iPhone, it would certainly be easier on developers (and smartphone users with devices that aren’t made by Apple), if you could easily develop Android, iPhone, Flash, and other apps without having to rewrite the code from scratch each time.