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Adobe May be Behind the Apple Antitrust Inquiry

Just when it looked like the battle between Apple and Adobe was over (and that Apple had won), it appears that the earlier skirmishes may have just been the opening rounds.

According to Bloomberg, the antitrust inquiry of Apple that questions the legality of Apple forcing developers to use its proprietary tools – a move that effectively banned Adobe’s Flash and seemed to end the battle between Adobe and Apple – may have been initiated by Adobe.

The upcoming inquiry stems from a complaint by Adobe that Apple is deliberately curtailing competition by barring developers from using Flash, and other third-party software. At first the action appeared to be heading to court via a lawsuit from Adobe, but nothing has yet come from the rumored litigation. At least not yet.

Adobe’s complaint began a negotiation between the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, not about if there should be an inquiry, but who should lead it. If the inquiry reveals enough evidence to merit it, an official investigation will begin and Apple will be subpoenaed.

In many ways, this is the next logical step between the two companies. It began as a war of words, which culminated in a bitter dispute that Adobe had apparently lost when Apple changed its license. In Steve Jobs’ open letter explaining why the company barred Flash, Jobs lists six flaws in the technology that includes everything from security to its inherent design on touch devices. Adobe did not issue a reply, but perhaps the company took it personally.

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