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Citing the usual "people familiar with the matter", the New York Post claims the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commissions are negotiating over which one of their organizations will inquire into Apple's new iPhone OS 4 SDK section 3.3.1 -- the restriction against cross-compilers in general and Adobe's Flash CS5 Packager for iPhone in specific.

It will focus on whether the policy, which took effect last month, kills competition by forcing programmers to choose between developing apps that can run only on Apple gizmos or come up with apps that are platform neutral, and can be used on a variety of operating systems, such as those from rivals Google, Microsoft and Research In Motion.

Which, while I'm not a lawyer or headline-seeking politico, doesn't sound like anything remotely approaching actionable behavior. Inquiry doesn't mean investigation, however, much less charges are pending. Apple could just as easily be absolved since they're not a monopoly in smartphones and competition in the app space is thriving.

Neither the DOJ, FTC, or Apple is commenting yet, so this could also just be one of those test-baloons-via-media-attention. Steve Jobs has recently written on the issue of cross-compilers in general in his Thoughts on Flash open letter.

Apple believes cross-compilers aren't in the best interests of their platform, and in the United States of America, absent monopolistic or other forms of illegal abuse, doesn't Apple get to decide how they want to run their own platform? And aren't developers equally free to vote with their apps and, if they don't like Apple's choices, develop for other platforms and take their user-bases with them?

[NY Post via 9to5Mac]