Ha, Steve Jobs and friends are being bashful on the hacking issue over at iTunes Store because they have a bigger problem on the horizon. This news didn’t get much coverage on the US sites and primetime TV but I managed to get a sniff of it. This development should be a big scare for Apple. European Union Commissioner Neelie Kroes disclosed in an interview with EuroActiv that the iPhone and other phones will be compelled to open their closed-standards under new European interoperability rules. Kroes cited Apple in particular, she said the company’s iPhone operating system and App Store are closed platforms wherein customers are being unfairly locked-in without a choice.
Kroes is not targeting Apple but all companies will be covered by this new EU law entitled Digital Agenda. This law will make licensing and publishing formats a legal requirement before companies can engage in business in all EU-member countries. The lady commissioner said:
“We need to make sure that significant market players cannot just choose to deny interoperability with their product,” she said. “This is particularly important in cases where standards don’t exist… 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.”
Her words clearly hint that EU citizens will not be like their American cousins who are all slave to Apple’s fiefdom. Europeans who buy iPhone handsets or iPad Tablet PC units, under the new EU Law, will enjoy the right to have Adobe Flash, Silverlight, or any other formats, running well on their devices! Apple, if it wants to continue selling their products, must open up their closed-platform to other third-parties so that interoperability is assured! Those Europeans really know a bad deal when they see it and acts out accordingly. The Digital Agenda Law is yet to be finalized but Apple must be worried already. EU countries are a huge source of their profits, if they don’t comply with the law, they may lose them.
This is not the first time the EU Commission has stepped in to penalize monopolistic companies. The commission penalized Microsoft with $1.4 Billion fine after the software behemoth refused to allow third-party developers access to the company’s sources codes for Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows OS. Microsoft relented under the threat of further fines or permanent ban. Apple may also suffer the same fate. Either they comply and open up iPhone iOS 4 and iTunes or they risk getting billion-dollar penalties or worse, get banned from European Markets!
Good luck, Steve Jobs. I don’t know how you can skirt this legal impediment. Looks like Europeans will soon be enjoying official Adobe Flash support on their iPhone 4 very soon!