EU Considering App Store Antitrust Probe

European Union Commissioner Neelie Kroes is considering launching an antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store policies even as the organization is working on new laws that could force Apple change how iPhone apps are distributed. The proposed legislation could potentially require Apple to allow third-party iOS app development platforms, including Adobe Flash CS5, according to Rethink Wireless.

“We need to make sure that significant market players cannot just choose to deny interoperability with their product,” Ms. Kroes said. “This is not just about Microsoft or any big company like Apple, IBM or Intel. The main challenge is that consumers need choice when it comes to software or hardware products.”

Along with allowing third-party development platforms, the proposed EU laws could force Apple to abandon its app approval process for third-party developers.

The EU’s goal is to ensure device interoperability and to prevent any one company from gaining what it sees as unfair control over a market.

“Since not all pervasive technologies are based on standards the benefits of interoperability risk being lost in such areas,” Ms. Kroes said. “The Commission will examine the feasibility of measures that could lead significant market players to license interoperability information while at the same time promoting innovation and competition.”

Apple isn’t, however, being singled out. The commission is considering investigating how other companies are handling interoperability in the smartphone market, too.