Apple, probably still feeling some PR fatigue over their decision to "brick" unlocked iPhones, is being taken to task over its tight control of a software developer kit (SDK) that can be used to write applications to run on the iPhone. Although the SDK does allow third-party application development, Apple has severely restricted the use of the kit, which is SOP for it — to the point that some people are crying "foul." For example, Steve Jobs said that applications like Skype would be able to run on the iPhone when the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot but not over the AT&T cellular data network.
In addition to other restrictions, the SDK EULA includes language that would seem to restrict Sun from writing a JVM that would run on the iPhone, saying:
An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise...
The biggest pain is the fact that the only way to distribute applications is through Apple's iTunes and iPhone stores and that Apple will take a 30% cut of all sales through the store. The restrictive nature of the Apple EULA actually led a writer to wonder if Apple was starting its own antitrust woes like Microsoft did.
Sun dreams the impossible Java on Jesus Phone dream (The Register)
iPhone SDK Developers Angry At Apple's Tight Control (Information Week)
I do not think that Apple has any antitrust worries, since it does not hold a monopoly position in cellular phones, but it does need to be worried about the PR buzz it is creating. One of the biggest problems with the model it has created is that there is no apparent way for a business to write applications and then distribute them internally to their users. No business is going to port proprietary applications to the iPhone and then make them available through iTunes. What do you think about Apple's latest moves?