European Commission drops Apple antitrust probe

The European Commission (EC) has dropped its antitrust probe into Apple over its App Store and iPhone restrictions after it altered some of its company policies recently.

Apple made a U-turn on many of its policies recently relating to the development of applications for its iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Originally it had implemented severe restrictions on how developers could create new apps, gaining particular notoriety for its ban of Flash. When developers began to migrate to rival Android, however, and with the EC probe on the cards, Apple buckled and loosened its grip.

The Commission said it was no longer necessary to continue with the probe, as Apple had made changes to address its concerns. 

“Apple’s response to our preliminary investigations shows that the commission can use the competition rules to achieve swift results on the market with clear benefits for consumers, without the need to open formal proceedings,” Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Another factor in the EC’s decision to drop the investigation was Apple’s introduction of a pan-European warranty repair service for its devices, compared to its previous policies which were different depending on each EU state.

The Commission originally began its investigation of Apple in early 2010 when it raised concerns that Apple’s warranty repair policies were limited by country and violated European Union rules regarding a unified market. It was also irked by Apple’s restrictive policies on app development, urging it to loosen restrictions.

While Apple has now shook off the wrath of the European Commission it was still forced to allow developers to make apps that can run on multiple devices, not just Apple’s, which would have surely ended with a slap on the wirst from the EC if the probe had gone ahead.